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Back in April, I completed a month eating according to the Whole30 challenge (my kids call it my “contest”) and I am in the middle of completing a second “contest.” If you haven’t heard of the Whole30, you must me living under a rock. Kidding! That is what I overheard another mom saying to her mother. I hadn’t ever heard of it, but then I realized I probably was living under a rock working full-time. Embarrassingly, one of my kids ran out of underwear this week. We checked all the emergency spots, the laundry room, and backpack. Nope. Let’s just say she was a really good sport about it, and let’s just say her brother was mortified that he had to loan a pair to her. So yeah…under a rock.
The Whole30 is a 30-day challenge where you do not eat any dairy, no grains, no legumes/peanuts/soy, alcohol, nor sugar. SO WHAT CAN YOU EAT?? You do not count calories and you eat meat, veggies, some nuts, some fruit, oils/fats. The foods you give up can be very anti-inflammatory for many of us, and it really takes several weeks and giving all of them up at one time. Many times people give up one or two of those things and only for a couple of weeks at a time without much improvement. After 30 days, you slowly add things back in if desired and see how you feel. For many, they are very surprised when they cannot tolerate one of those food groups and it is something they have always eaten. Most likely, our body was intolerant before but we become so used to the lack of energy and signs of intolerance. For me it was dairy. I was lactose intolerant until I started drinking whole, organic, non-homogenized milk several years ago. However, I was very ill for two days when I added it back into my coffee after the whole30. Over time I was able to add cultured dairy like yogurt and cheese but I haven’t tried straight milk or many other dairy products since.
The biggest difference for me was gluten. I just stayed off it. I felt so good since I did the whole30. I had lost about 8 lbs. I have worried about gluten for awhile now. I have a couple of members that are gluten-free, most likely celiac, and I worry it is doing damage to many of us. Even being in the healthcare industry and reading studies, it is impossible to figure out what it true though. Well, after 4 months I decided I would slowly add it back in. I was fine. For a few weeks. I started having terrible knee pain. I figured I was being silly but nothing was helping…so I went back off gluten. After a couple of days, the joint pain was much improved. I also met two other people who mentioned joint pain was the only symptom of their gluten problems. I assumed I was being too much of a conspiracy theorist. I added it back in purposely. Joint pain in 24 hrs. Eliminated it for good for awhile. Relief. Accidentally ingested it. Joint pain in 24 hrs and gone in 48 hrs. Crazy. I still don’t know if it was really gluten (some studies think it is the pesticide used on it), but I’ve stayed off it even before this second whole30.
Do I think everyone should do the Whole30? No…but if you have any chronic illness or suspect their may be food triggers, I would definitely consider doing it. Believe it or not, this post really isn’t to promote the whole30 but to explain why it was so helpful for me and what it entails. The funny thing is that my husband and I almost completely disagree about food/health/exercise and what contributes the most to weight loss/health. The funnier thing is that some of his and our kids’ favorite meals have been recipes I used during the whole30. I did not require/expect my husband or kids to participate, but I was also only going to cook one supper at night. So it had to be something good, something I could eat, and something they would eat. Honestly, they loved almost everything I cooked. So I thought I would post some of those recipes/ideas here…even if you never do the Whole30 or have any interest in anything other than a few meal ideas.
If you have any interest in the Whole30, their blog is great. They have 2 books which are immensely helpful, but honestly I did the first whole30 just by reading the rules/ideas on their blog. The first book explains the reasons and science behind the whole30, and the second book has more FAQ and recipes. Let me know if you have any interest, and I’ll be glad to give you more details about how I planned and what I ate.
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