I started the whole 30 challenge on Monday. For someone who has been eating primally for a while, it’s not such a big deal, but it’s still good for me to have something solid to stick to, and to help me get back on track after the Christmas/New Years period. I honestly don’t feel too guilty about my eating over the Christmas break. Funnily enough, it’s fairly easy to stick to meat and veggies during the traditional Christmas lunch, so the only thing I really splurged on was dessert.
The primal/paleo community uses the Whole 30 to kick start a period of clean eating, usually after blow outs like holiday season eating. While primal uses the 80/20 rule, the Whole 30 has no cheating whatsoever. But hey, it’s only for 30 days, that’s nothing really! And the only differences from my normal primal eating routine are that I can’t have any dairy or dark chocolate. Everything else is basically the same!
For those of you who don't follow the primal style of eating, here's the basic premise of the Whole 30 - Eat real food. Seriously, it's that simple. But to clarify, the following foods do not count and are avoided during the Whole 30:-
-sugar (including honey, stevia, agave nectar, splenda - seriously if it's artificial, it can't be good for you!)
- grains (including wheat, rice, barley, oats, corn, soy...)
- legumes (this includes peanuts, which are not a nut but a legume, but green beans & snow peas are acceptable)
- dairy (seriously, the only animals who should be consuming cow/sheep/goat milk are their babies)
- white potatoes
- processed foods (yeah, those 'protein bars' are so not on!)
While it looks a bit scary, it honestly isn't. You can still eat bacon & eggs for breakfast, just substitute the toast for avocado and steamed spinach. Cauliflower rice and mashed pumpkin are two of my favourite 'carb' replacements. And don't get me started on how much I now enjoy eating chicken skin, guilt free!!!
So as I ate my beautiful 170g eye fillet steak this morning, I thought about how happy eating this way makes me. I am no longer lethargic and never get headaches. I am quickly increasing my strength at the gym, something that used to take me ages before! I am rarely ever ‘starving’ and can often go for up to 10 hours without eating and still feel fine (note, this is not starving myself, it’s simply only eating 2 nutritionally dense meals per day). People have been commenting that I look lighter, and it’s not just because I’ve lost 10 kilos! It’s because my skin is glowing, my hair and nails look healthy and strong, and my arms are finally seeing some definition in them!
And that is why I will eat this way for the rest of my life! Obviously I won’t be as strict as I am with myself on the Whole 30 challenge (I mean really, what girl is ever going to give up chocolate completely!) but I now know that I can easily survive eating like this.
It’s funny, when you stop eating sugar, everything tastes OTT sweet. I can’t stomach any chocolate below 85% now, which most people would just screw their noses up at. I even tried some 100% stuff over Christmas, and I reckon I could even develop a taste for that! Chewing gum is too sweet for me and I even struggled to get through a bowen mango the other day! I’ve pretty much figured out that my only sugar intake comes from certain fruits, such as berries and cherries – surely not such a bad thing in moderation!
So my challenge to you is to try the Whole 30. Sometimes all you need is a kick start and you’re on your way. And hey, it’s only for 1 month and you’ve most likely made a new year’s resolution about your weight/health… Why not do something different!?!?