Spoiler alert.. if you didn’t catch it from the title, I’m about to poke a hole in the Whole 30 program. If you don’t want the truth.. quit reading now. Ignorance is bliss. 😜
Today is Day 20 of a 30 day attempt to “reset” my body by eating Whole Foods only. I’m trying to follow the guidelines set by the official Whole 30 program which, at the most basic level, includes eating only Whole Foods and cutting out a very specific list of things.
No added sugar, no soy or products made with soy, no dairy, no alcohol, no legumes, no beans, and no grains. This is so far beyond paleo it’s out of control. There are, however, details in the fine print that are not to be dismissed and therein lies the rub for me.
(The damn devil and his constant dance with details. Curse that jerk.)
Before I dive into the one detail that has been my undoing, I’m going to elaborate on my original goals.
1. The reset. I want to flush my body if all the bad stuff. I’m not sure that’s achievable in 30 days as it takes months to begin to undo damage done to the gut from gluten. However, any surface level toxins should definitely be gone in 30 days time.
2. Check my sugar addiction. I’ve got a healthy sweet tooth and it’s a problem. I have sugar cravings like you would not believe and it’s a constant battle of wills to resist temptations.
3. To support my sister who also wanted to do the program. We discussed it before Christmas last year and that’s when I originally committed to starting on the 8th of January. It’s easier to stick with it if you have a support system and a voice of reason when your brain tries to convince you to quit.
4. To prove that I could. Yeah.. that’s me. I’m always trying something new and I see it as a challenge. People say it’s tough, so I wanted to do it just so I could say I did. Ha!
5. Learn how to shop for, plan for, and cook healthy meals.
Noteworthy… Missing from this list is any goal of losing weight. I’m mostly satisfied with that and don’t count that as a valid measure of health for myself anyway. If I end up losing those last 5 lbs. that seem to always be out of reach, then so much the better but it’s not my goal.
I’m now 20 days in and am feeling somewhat discontent with the “whole” thing. I’ve had serious cravings and outlasted them all. I’ve spent afternoons thinking about tortilla chips and chocolate. I could not have made it this far without #3 and #4 above. Which just proves that the force is strong with the virtues of both. In that, I feel I’ve already proved something and when this 30 days is over, will consider the experiment a success despite the issues surrounding the rest of it.
So what are those issues? That takes me back to the devil and the fine print. And believe me, I’ve done a deep dive into the rules and read the official word on tortilla chips, RX bars, and coconut aminos.
I think it was day 7 or 8 that my sister cooked me a delicious turkey chili with roasted squash topped with guacamole. It was amazing. During our conversation, she mentioned RX bars which I had not known about previously. She explained how they were approved because they are made with only Whole ingredients and no unapproved items. She also used the words “emergency food” but I glossed over that convieniently.
The next time I was at the grocery, I bought some. They are awesome (really expensive, but also really good). The ingredients are dates, egg white, almond, cashew, and whatever else depending on the flavor. The number 1 ingredient is dates, which are loaded with sugar. It’s pretty much like eating a candy bar. How can that be OK?
As it turns out, it’s not. It’s only approved in emergency situations. The “stranded on the tarmac” kind and not intended to be used casually after a meal like a brownie or to scratch that late night craving itch. Epic fail on my part. That’s why understanding ALL the rules up front is so important.
Even as an emergency food, I have a problem with it. It’s still processed and that is counter to the spirit of the program. If I can’t bake something with almond flour, then how is it ok to eat this processed bar? If I can’t eat a tortilla chip made of corn, sunflower oil, and sea salt then why is the RX ok? It should be banned along with several other things that are deemed ok.. because they ARE processed and not whole foods.
And while I’m on a soapbox anyway, let’s be real.. “Emergency?!?”. What emergency?
How tough is it to pack a bag with nuts and maybe fruit like apples or cuties? Shouldn’t we just do ourselves a favor and really learn how to make healthy things and prepare in advance for life? Aren’t all those fast food comvieniences part of the systemic problem facing our society today?
It’s just easier to drive through a place and pick up a meal than to have fresh, healthy ingredients on hand in the kitchen and foresight to plan and cook something good. It’s just easier to feed that mid-day hunger pang with a “nutrition” bar than to have, on hand, some better alternative.
I fell into the trap and sadly, the RX Bar bit me in the ass. I started using it as a crutch daily and a few times twice. Shame on me. I’ve since decided to finish out my last 10 days with a tighter rein on some rules.
Nothing but Whole Foods and no processed bars or dried fruit. I’m also going to limit my fresh fruit intake to 3 servings a day. Hopefully I can still achieve #2 on my list above and hopefully I will feel a difference in SOMETHING, which so far I have not. If I can’t FEEL something different.. better as a result, then what’s the point?
I want more energy and better sleep and less issues with hormones and headaches and I’ve read stories by other people who achieve that in this program. I’m just not feeling it. My sister tells me that’s probably because I ate somewhat healthy before. Perhaps that’s true.
Anyhow, Normally I subscribe to the concept that ignorance of the rules is no excuse for breaking them, but in this case, if I can be successful these last 10 days, I’m going to consider this round a success.
If I counted my RX habit breaking a rule, then I would just quit now (and probably not try again anytime soon). So I have to think about it as I am in order to finish the 30 days.
Ok.. flame 🔥 off.
It’s the weekend. Time to go enjoy the day!
Peace and love,