My Whole30 Experiment – Part 1

My honey and I have decided to follow the diet recommendations of the Whole30 Program for 30 days in order to see what all of the hoopla is about. If you haven’t heard of it you can check it out here!  And for even more information read the book that introduces it, “It Starts with Food” by Dallas Hartwig and Melissa Hartwig. The authors claim that following their 30 day program will CHANGE YOUR LIFE.

I actually read about it a few months ago, got interested in it and then decided a meal plan that focuses on protein but restricts tofu, soy, and legumes would not be the best idea for a vegetarian who only eats a little bit of fish.

Sesame Tofu

But then I read about it again and found out my brother (Number 9) had already started his own Whole30 journey. We sat down with Number 9 and his wife and got answers to all of our questions and his enthusiasm was a bit contagious. He was on day 7 and I remember commenting that his skin was glowing and how he mentioned several times how great he felt.

My honey and I decided we were on board!

Why am I doing this? I have been a vegetarian for 19 years so committing to a food plan that eliminates grains, sugar, dairy, legumes and alcohol is huge. No beer? No wine?  No sugar or half and half in my tea? No rice? No pasta? No tofu?

What will I eat? Lots of veggies, greens, fruit, seafood, eggs, olive oil, nuts, potatoes, olives. This food plan also touts the benefits of protein, animal based protein. Hmmm – this is going to be interesting.

Lots of eggs!

No, I don’t intend to begin eating beef, chicken or pork but to be honest, I don’t shut the door entirely on that for the future.

I just heard a collective gasp from my vegetarian and vegan friends. I am blessed to have amazing friends and I don’t fear any judgement or reprisal for my 30 day experiment. I will be increasing my egg and seafood consumption in order to get the protein I need.

What’s up with Lake Girl?

One of the premises of this 30 day plan is that food choices are either good for you or bad for you. There is no neutral. Being a strong proponent of being healthy comes down to the daily choices we make, I need to remain open to the fact that I can make improvements and maybe my vegetarianism is eliminating a whole food source from my diet that could actually benefit me. 19 years ago I removed meat from my diet and replaced it with more vegetables, cheese, soy, beans and grains.

The Whole30 eliminates the cheese, soy, beans and grains along with sugar and many food additives. I would guess this eliminates roughly 99.9% of processed food! I am 100% in favor of that! The idea is to eliminate certain foods for 30 days and see how you feel. The food groups eliminated are noted to potentially cause problems for people in the following areas: Psychological (think sugar cravings), hormonal issues, problems with the gut, and inflammation issues in the body.

No more of this for a while

After the 30 days you slowly reintroduce the eliminated food groups back into your meals, one at a time to figure out what causes or aggravates your health issues. These might include skin issues, stomach/GI issues, inflammation, fatigue, headaches, and allergies.

If grains, dairy, flour, legumes and sugar are messing with my insulin level, causing excess inflammation in my body, or interfering with proper digestion,  I want to know about it. I want to do something about it!

Child Number 9 and his wife changed their relationship to food following a similar plan with amazing results. See a Guest Post by Number 9 on his amazing journey to improve his health from last year.

Why am I doing this? I feel a bit low on energy lately. Along with winter and the holidays along came an extra 5 plus pounds. I am not really worried about them but I would rather not have them if you know what I mean. I hit the big 50 this year and along with that comes the realization that my left knee has been a concern for over 10 years. I have had x-rays, MRI’s and all the doctors can say is “a bit of arthritis but nothing to worry about.” Sorry but it hurts a lot of the time and that limits my favorite pursuits so YES I worry.

Like this!

I have a nasty post nasal drip that makes me sound rather gross when I try to stop it. I have periodic elbow pain in both arms (probably from paddling and raking). Occasionally I have sugar cravings that when I succumb  to, I can inhale a dozen small candy bars without even realizing I unwrapped them.  About 2x per month I am popping antacids due to belly bloating and gas.

Sorry, I know this is TMI but I want to give you a fair understanding of why a long-term vegetarian would voluntarily adopt a high protein diet that doesn’t allow beans, soy or cheese.

As you know, I am against processed foods and don’t feel that the food industry has our best interests in mind when selling us highly processed food like substances. It is funny though, I never thought of tofu as being processed. But it certainly doesn’t resemble the soy bean from which it came from! I also question the intentions of the government when it comes to advocating good health vs cowing to big food lobbyists.

The soybean made a few stops after leaving here before becoming tofu.

Luise Light was one of the founders of the Food Guide Pyramid developed in the 1980’s. Here she states that when the final version was submitted to the US Secretary of Agriculture it came back with some BIG changes after being altered to win the approval of the food industry.

The original recommendations for vegetables and fruit were reduced in order to increase the servings of bread, cereal, rice and flour. The recommendations to sparingly use baked goods made with white flour and sugar were scrapped and these products were lumped into the base of the food pyramid encouraging us to eat 6-11 servings per day.

I guess my point is neither the government or the food industry is responsible for my health. Or yours!

I have said it before – I want to be one of those older women in their 70’s, 80’s and 90’s who still live fun, active lives. I have a friend who is 75 that I had to kick out of the apple tree we were trimming. Another friend who is 75 who plays golf, tennis and pickleball.

This year I have decided to maximize my health; completing The Whole30 and learning Tai Chi are 2 of the ways I intend to do this! I will post updates on my Whole30 Experiment right here at mylittlebluekayak.com!

What are you doing for your health in 2017?

Lake Girl

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