a little experiment...
Actually, it is kind of a big experiment.
On Monday 1/11/21 I will start a totally plant-based Whole30. For those of you who aren't familiar, the program prescribes a very strict diet of whole foods - fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, compliant fat and oils. However, they also emphasize meat as a staple for most meals. While I have completed several rounds of the regular Whole30 over the years, this time I will attempt a vegan version (because I don't like eating animals anymore - it is really gross and cruel tbh). Since the food plan is so restrictive, the founders suggest that vegans also include legumes and grains (gluten free) whereas the "real" Whole30 template allows neither of those food groups. On top of that, the program completely cuts out added/refined sugar, artificial sweeteners, artificial additives, alcohol, and dairy. On the vegan version, I will obviously be passing on all animal products (which I already do for the most part).
I finished my first Whole30 six years ago and while I believe my current path was already being paved for me behind the scenes, the Whole30 was a physical launching point to everything - realizing what 30 days sober felt like inspired me to reconsider my drinking habits. I did some further experimentation and now here I am sober/clean for over 5 years. Furthermore, the Whole30 experience revealed the powerful connection between diet and mental health - I was in awe of how much my mood improved. It felt like magic. Then I sat back and wondered why I was so surprised by this when obviously food affects our brains and bodies.
I had been going to multiple doctors for digestive issues, was prescribed drugs and laxatives, and still ended up calling out sick many days, but guess what not one of those doctors mentioned or asked about - WHAT ARE YOU EATING? Looking back, I can't believe they didn't ask. Looking back, I can't believe that I didn't see the connection myself when I was downing about 23 diet cokes a day. This was the impetus to my pursuing a degree in Nutrition Science. (By the way, if you are suffering from digestive issues, first try cutting out gluten and dairy - those are the number one offenders. Feel free to contact me for a consultation to discuss further and come up with a customized plan tailored to you and your needs.)
I found some notes that I kept from my first Whole30 in October 2014.
Day 1: "overwhelmed, this will be a lot to handle. Can I do it? I can't have alcohol? Ahh how will I fill my time (at least prepping and planning takes time that I wasn't used to). Can I do it? Yes. I can. It will be good both physically and mentally. Need to plan for if I get hungry throughout day. Hungry right now. Headache, tired. Lightheaded. Sad?"
Then on Day 23 of that same round (I shortened this because I rambled): "I don't want it to end. I feel so f**king good. Today I got so much accomplished. Made breakfast, went to Costco for tons of food and even some clothes, someone gave me compliment there. So nice. After I unloaded groceries, I walked Harley for 1.75 miles. It was so beautiful out today. Then I heated up lunch and started working on my room. Put some clean laundry away and reorganized a bit. I swept and vacuumed. Ran 4 miles in under 40min. Went to CVS for some wipes to keep in my car (always planning. always thinking.) Painted my nails and ate dinner. Then went climbing!!! Then came home and packed my lunch for tomorrow. Today was a great day! 😊😍 I feel happy and in control."
So why am I doing it this time? Let me count the ways... This is what I can come up with off the top of my head.
It is another motion forward in my ongoing journey to heal my relationship with food
My sugar dragon is out of control and I feel wild (in a bad way)
Low energy and sluggishness
To improve my running performance - speed, duration, and intensity
Cognitive dissonance in values, beliefs, and actions
Guilt/Shame cycle of eating junk food
Skin issues - breaking out
Digestive conditions (duh)
Foggy brain - I am seeking more clarity and a sharper mind
It is taking a disgusting amount of headspace to decide how/when to moderate the less healthy foods (sweets, etc.), and I want to channel that energy elsewhere in a more productive way
I can do hard things
Finally, I like to practice what a preach when I coach and guide others in making the best choices for their bodies. I am generally healthy and have drastically changed how I operate, but I can always be better and do better to set that real-life example. I would rather follow Hippocrates (let food be thy medicine) than Hypokrites (hypocrite).
I will share my progress and I aim to be as transparent as possible with the struggles, victories, and results. I know this won't change everything but it may change some things... and that's all we can hope for right?
As always, feel free to reach out to me if you are seeking any coaching or just want to talk openly about a challenge you are facing. This could be a simple, one-time session to get back on track or a long-term arrangement to meet regularly. Shoot me a message: email@example.com
Speak soon, stay lucky