Another Whole 30

A couple of years ago, I was feeling lethargic and a few pounds over the weight I felt best at. I’ve never been one to try diets, save for simple calorie counting (for actual weight loss, no matter what the diet, less caloric intake with respect to calories burned is the only way). I was also looking for higher energy, though, so the Whole 30 program caught my attention. By subtracting sugar, grains, dairy, alcohol, legumes (peas excepted), artificial chemicals, and the scale for 30 days, the idea is take away the things that cause people issues. In other words a detox month. In the mean time, unprocessed meat, veggies, eggs, nuts (no peanuts), and fruits become the stuff of meals (vinegars, olive, coconut, avocado oils, ghee are all allowed for cooking). What happens after about two and a half weeks is more energy, a clearer mind, and much deeper and longer sleep—good things for a productive life. Moderate weight loss, only known after the 30 days is up (besides the evidence of the belt), is a natural byproduct. There are actually no limits on how much you can eat, only hold down snacking (approved foods, no bought potato chips) and stick to three meals if possible (besides exercise recovery).

I’ve done this regimen twice now, and loved the results both times. I gained more energy, lost a few pounds, and slept way better. ‘Nuff said on the results. The ideal is after the 30 days to add back groups of food individually (grains, dairy, etc.) to see what causes energy loss. I did not do that, and ultimately ended back with the the outcomes of my normal diet—less energy and a few more pounds back on. But having done it twice, I am finding it easy to go back this time. The first time, just figuring out food was difficult. Come to find out, virtually all foods in packages have some sort of sugar (by many different names) and/or preservatives. Carefully reading the ingredients does yield a few surprises, such as no sugar or preservatives Winco Vegetable Juice (unlike all the other vegetable juices!). Even finding chicken stock is hard (fortunately we have turkey stock from Thanksgiving still left). So the outer ring of the store is the place to be (besides the dairy case). Fruits, lots of potatoes (!) and sweet potatoes, onions, garlic, greens, non-legume veggies, almonds, pistachios, seeds, seafood, beef, chicken, and pork, become the base of the daily diet. I’ve learned about plantains, butternut squash, making fresh hashbrowns cooked with ghee (easily made at home), all other manner of potato concoctions, egg frittatas of various sorts and the joy of food colors and spices. My intake of green leafy veggies always increases, and fortunately, I have Swiss chard and several kale varieties growing in my garden, as well as oregano, thyme, sage, parsley, rosemary, mint, and basil. Sautéed kale added to eggs and hashbrowns in the morning makes a nice breakfast.

To be sure, the challenge of cooking for my wife is always there, but she adds in things as desired. For the most part, the cooking is simply healthy and tasty and she loves that (and most of all the fact that I am the cook!).

The first time through I craved bread and cheese most of all (the wine, etc. was amazingly easy to give up thank goodness), but the second time it was easier, and this time a few days in, I haven’t craved any of it. I think its the potatoes! In any case, I’m looking forward to the results again and am already sleeping deeper after four days. The plan this time is to do a gradual add-back-in of food groups and keep a journal, but we’ll see. As Paul said to the Corinthians, everything is permitted. It’s just that some things are better than others for your health.

There is a Whole 30 website and over the years an entire constellation of foods available for order (surprise!), but I simply try to follow the rules and buy stuff locally. Just buying fresh foods is more expensive as it is (thank goodness for potatoes and Winco).

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