Sunday, April 16, 2017

We Started Whole30, & Here's How It's Going So Far


I've been asking Mike for months if he'd do a Whole30 with me, & he kept saying he wasn't into it. Then, last Sunday, he asked, "Want to start a Whole30 tomorrow?" Tomorrow! I'd been trying to plan this thing for months, & he wants to jump in with less than 24 hours' notice.

But that's how Mike operates, & that's how we operate together, &, unsurprisingly, I didn't need all the damn planning time I'd tried to allot, anyway. He was right: 24 hours was just about all we needed to get started.

I'm not a great cook. I actually hate to cook - so much time & effort for something that's gone so quickly! - so, for me, one of the biggest changes in doing a Whole30 is, well, having to cook a lot. Fortunately, Mike is a really good cook who also likes doing it, but he's not with me for every meal, so I've got to fend for myself a bit. (Man, I sound a little pathetic.) We've been planning our meals, including making enough for leftovers, & we've even found a few meals we can eat at restaurants.

Let me tell you: I'm feeling awesome. My digestive issues have gotten better, I've been sleeping better, I've had more energy, I've felt less bloated. I hate to say it, as much as I miss bagels & blue cheese & beer, but I may have to keep on eating this way - which, you know, would probably be a good thing, which is the whole point. 

Here's some of what we've been eating:
  • Chicken Avocado Burgers: We ate these two nights in a row, once alongside rosemary sweet potato fries & once with roasted red potatoes. While I'm not usually a big chicken person, these were delicious: All the feel of a burger without any of the greasiness that sometimes accompanies them. The sweet potato fries really upped the flavor of the whole meal. 
  • Single Skillet Chicken with Bacon, Brussels Sprouts and Apple Au Jus: This recipe comes from Buzzfeed, of all places, & while it was a tasty one-pot meal, Mike used chicken breast rather than chicken thighs, so I think we were lacking some of the flavor it was supposed to have. Next time, more bacon!
  • Buffalo Chicken Casserole: This is one of the best home meals I've ever eaten, & it even tastes cheesy, somehow, despite not having any dairy in it. It's spicy & gooey & tastes totally unhealthy, but it's really just full of meat & veggies.  
  • Healthy snacks: Thank goodness for Larabars (I love the Lemon Pie flavor) & for cashews, dates, & bananas. They've been my go-to snacks when I've felt hunger pains - though I've also been less hungry between meals than usual, one of the goals of Whole30.
And now for a confession: We totally broke our Whole30 today - on purpose, though not without some regrets about doing so. We went to Mike's aunt & uncle's house for Easter lunch, & there was nothing we could eat without breaking it; we didn't plan well enough, figured we'd wing it, & then let ourselves get sucked into, well, a really delicious, non-Whole30 meal.  

I know the hardcore folks out there will be like, "It's doesn't count! Start your 30 days over!" The Whole30 website itself reads, quite aggressively IMO,
"Unless you physically tripped and your face landed in a  pizza, there is no “slip.” You make a choice to eat something unhealthy. It is always a choice, so do not phrase it as if you had an accident. Commit to the program 100% for the full 30 days. Don’t give yourself an excuse to fail before you’ve even begun."
This language, frankly, makes me want to punch the program's founder, Melissa Hartwig, in the face. I get it: If you want to see the real & full benefits, you can't also cheat & eat BBQ ribs & pistachio cake on Easter. At the same time, it's language like this that makes people like me - & people with even worse food-related discipline than me - feel alienated & ashamed & like there's no way we'll be able to be successful at healthy eating.

That language fails to recognize that, for someone like me, even six days of eating like this is really freaking amazing. And I won't be deterred or dismayed by my Easter Day decision to go off track for a minute.

It's OK to slip (& I do believe slips happen). It's also OK to make a conscious decision to eat something that isn't "Whole30-compliant," as I did today. It's OK to want to celebrate with your family. It's OK to decide a certain diet or lifestyle is not for you, or that you want to tweak it to better suit you for now. Quite simply, it's OK to do whatever the fuck you want when it comes to the food you put in your own body.

So while Melissa Hartwig would surely tell me I failed (& she also seems like the kind of person who'd call me a loser for doing so), I don't actually feel like I've failed. I've eaten like this for six straight days, & I'm starting it back up tonight. I ate one meal that wasn't "compliant," & it was delicious & joyful, & now I'm going to go back to a way of eating that, while difficult, has made me feel really great for the past week & which I would like to try to continue, if not for 30 days in a row. I'm not "starting my 30 days over," so I guess I'm not doing a "real" Whole30 - but I am following the guidelines as closely as possible, & I feel great about it so far.

And for me? That's a big deal. And I'm proud of it.
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