Whole 30 Challenge

In January, I decided that 2017 would be the year of personal challenges. Each challenge would last about a month, and I’d see if I grew from that experience. The results have been…err, well, mixed to say the least.

January: Not using the credit card.

Fully successful until the final week in January when I purchased a midnight blue, velvet couch from World Market because I was moving and needed a couch. Delivery dates and timelines killed it, but overall I’d call January a success.

February: Eat vegan.

I had about 5 meals that weren’t vegan, and that was mostly because I was traveling for work in Texas and had limited options in my immediate surroundings. Plus Texas BBQ, c’mon a girl has to eat. So I’m giving myself a 95 percent success rate on Vegan February.

March: Go to Mass once a week.

Abject failure. I’m a terrible Catholic. Plus, now I’m living in sin with my boyfriend. So not successful, but I’m going to revisit this challenge in another month later this year.

April: Keep the car clean.

Previously I worked as a journalist at a newspaper, and anyone who has attended J-school will tell you that a) you sometimes live out of your car, and b) a Twix bar, Cooler Ranch Doritos and a Diet Coke are a completely acceptable meal. Since entering a more “business” type job, I’ve noticed that cars are meant for driving and not as a trash receptacle for coffee cups and hamburger wrappers. Mostly this is an expectation thing. I expect a journalist’s car to be messy, but I expect a businessperson’s car to be tidier. Stereotypical, yes, but it’s a thing in my brain. Regardless, this was a successful experiment that I’ve continued into May. I find I like a clean car, I feel less like a garbage person, and I’m not embarrassed if I have to give someone a ride.

May/June: Whole 30.

Some family medical drama at the end of April and early May forced me off my challenge track. But the drama being resolved (everyone is OK), I think it’s time to get back on the horse, so to speak. Came across a Whole 30 video on YouTube one day and thought, “I could do that.” Now, I’m probably going to really hate it at points, but it’s only 30 days and it won’t kill me.

What is Whole 30?

Billed as a diet/metabolism/digestive system reset, it is essentially an elimination diet plan that removes all sugar, alcohol, grains, and dairy from a person’s diet. Whole 30, which I suggest reading more about at its website, is a whole community with books, online platforms, etc. Now, I haven’t read the books, and I really don’t intend to, so I’m working off any and all free information available online. Maybe I’ll stop by the library and check out the book for some inspiration, but for me this is more a lesson in discipline.

Now, Google “Whole 30” and you’ll find millions upon millions of results. Read all the minutiae you want, but for the basics, below are lists of what I can and cannot eat.

What I can eat:
  • meat
  • vegetables
  • fruit
  • nuts/seeds
  • clarified butter/ghee and coconut oil
  • salt
  • eggs
What I can’t eat:
  • grains
  • legumes
  • alcohol
  • sugar
  • dairy
  • soy

That’s a basic list, with the bottom line being that the main objective is to eat whole, unprocessed foods for 30 days. The creators of Whole 30 make a point of outlining what is and is not a “whole food.” For example, some low carb enthusiasts make “pancakes” out of bananas and eggs. Separately, eggs and bananas are Whole 30 approved, but the plan’s creators say that participants shouldn’t use substitutes for things you can’t have on the diet. It’s a whole mindset thing, which I understand. Also, bananas plus eggs does not equal pancakes. That math just doesn’t work.

I haven’t fully established how I’ll document/hold myself accountable to Whole 30. Most likely a mix of Instagram and Twitter posts, plus maybe a blog or two on here mostly as an overall sanity report on Whole 30.

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