It’s official. I completed my first Whole30 Challenge.
There’s no easy or short way to describe my experience over the last 30 days. I started to become interested in health and food awareness about two years ago. I read the book Wheat Belly which helped me realize that food is being genetically modified, dwarfed and altered in too many ways to count. Once I had this bit of knowledge, I kept digging deeper to learn more. I found it intriguing to go to the grocery and spend endless time reading ingredient labels of my “favorite foods”. It built confidence in my mind knowing what to consume and what to stay away from, but it also created a brick wall of anxiety towards eating processed foods (which is NOT a bad thing). I still didn’t have all of the information I needed and I didn’t know it until now.
I continued to make conscious decisions about the food I ate and mostly ordered “healthy food” at restaurants. I never really considered what is in the food or what it was cooked in.
For example: You can order the chicken from Qdoba on your burrito or even go “healthier” with a burrito bowl (like I used to multiple times a week) but have you ever thought about what is actually in that chicken. If you’re thinking, it’s just chicken, it’s healthy, stop ruining Qdoba for me, Hailey! then you have no idea what is added to your favorite dishes and should start doing some heavy research right NOW. Whether you want to admit it or not, once you learn something, you can’t unlearn it. Check out this allergen information Qdoba provides on their website and tell me you want to go order a chicken burrito right now…
Marinated Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs Containing Up To 11.55% Solution Of Water, Adobo Seasoning For Chicken (See Adobo Seasoning For Chicken), Soybean Oil, Sodium Phosphates. Contains Milk.
Adobo Seasoning for Chicken Chili Pepper, Salt, Corn Syrup Solids, Sugar, Dehydrated Garlic, Dehydrated Onion, Whey, Spice, Grill Flavor (From Vegetable Oil) And Smoke Flavor, Disodium Inosinate, Disodium Guanylate, Less Than 2% Calcium Silicate Added To Prevent Caking. Contains Milk.
Water, Cream (Cream, Milk), Monterey Jack Cheese ([Milk, Cheese Culture, Salt, Enzymes], Water, Milk Fat, Sodium Phosphate, Salt, Sodium Hexametaphosphate), American Cheese ([Milk, Cheese Culture, Salt, Enzymes], Water, Milk Fat, Sodium Phosphate, Salt), Roasted Poblano Peppers, Roasted Tomatoes (Tomatoes, Tomato Juice, Citric Acid, Calcium Chloride), Seasoning (Modified Cornstarch, Salt, Sodium Phosphate, Artificial Colors [Titanium Dioxide, Extractives Of Paprika], Xanthan Gum, Onion Powder, Spices, Lactose, Paprika, Methyl Cellulose Gum, Garlic Powder, Citric Acid, Potato Flour, Cocoa Powder, Silicon Dioxide), Jalapeño Peppers, Pasteurized Processed Swiss And American Cheese (Cultured Milk And Skim Milk, Cream, Sodium Phosphate, Salt, Sorbic Acid, Enzymes), Cheddar Concentrate (Cheddar, Granular, Semisoft And Blue Cheese [Pasteurized Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes], Water, Sodium Phosphate, Vinegar, Salt), Corn Syrup Solids, Modified Cornstarch, Garlic (Garlic, Water). Contains Milk.
Seriously? WTF is all of that crap in that amazing queso that’s so addicting!!!?? Since I started working at LEAP in February, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve devoured all three of those items plus cheese, sour cream, corn salsa, rice and tortilla chips. It makes me sick just thinking about it. Knowledge is power. Especially knowledge about yourself. NOT what you think to be true. BUT what is really true. By completing the Whole30, I know how processed food effects my body and brain. There is no black and white way that will lead you to this discovery except by doing a Whole30. Appreciating your body, loving it and knowing how to take proper care of it will improve your overall life ten-fold. I firmly stand by the saying “You are what you eat.”
So, I know you’re dying to know, “What much weight did you lose?” “What did you eat?” “Was it hard?” “Isn’t it expensive buying healthy food?” and much more.
1.) I lost 8 lbs over the past 30 days. I am a petite person already and did not work out during my Whole30. I really wanted to focus on the food. Where it comes from. How certain food makes me feel. And most importantly, teach myself how to cook. I AM WOMAN and I can do anything 😉 I do want you to know that I feel much better overall. I’m sleeping better, I’m happier and I feel incredible.
2.) I ate whole food. Meaning, my food came from the earth and animals. Nothing added, nothing subtracted. Just marvelous combinations resulting in delicious meals to nourish my body.
3.) It was hard. But hey, since when is anything worth having easy to get? Life isn’t supposed to be easy. Clearly, it’s next to impossible to get whole, real food served to your anywhere. You have to do it yourself. You have to step WAYYY out of your comfort zone, take the plunge and stay strong. Throughout the 30 days, I kept telling myself I was Whole30 Strong. I have a sweet tooth the size of my head (Solomon likes to remind me daily of how big my head is, figuratively speaking 😉 ) and I like things like Oreos and hot fries and WINE. Every day when my co-workers would go out to lunch I sat at my desk and ate my Whole30 meals. I was okay with it. I knew I was doing something for myself that would only continue to flourish with time and practice. Eating healthy, to me, is comparable to being an athlete. I think of it this way because I am not athletic AT ALL. I’m actually pretty pathetic when it comes to anything sports related. But anyway, an athlete is someone who is really passionate about what they do. They work day in and day out to improve their skills. With time and a lot of practice they begin to live and breath their sport. Healthy living is becoming my sport. No, I’m not perfect. Yes, I ate a few “bad foods” at work today and afterwards I felt like shit. Literally. Foggy head, bloated belly, etc. Totally not worth it. I’d rather be the weird tree-huggin’ weirdo than feel like that every day. Which leads me to the fourth question…
4.) “Isn’t it expensive eating healthy?” Well, let me put it into perspective for you…
1 bag of potato chips = $4.50
Oreos = $3.00
Average fast-food lunch = $10-15
By eliminating the expenses of processed food, you now have money for the healthy food. Fresh produce, clean meat and so on. I hate to break it to you, but on this issue, you can’t have your cake and eat it too. Pick a side and stick with it. Groceries are expensive regardless of your choices. Just make sure you’re making choices that actually benefit your body and don’t just pass through providing no nutritional value.
IF THE INGREDIENT/PRODUCT IS SOMETHING OTHER THAN A REAL FOOD THAT EXISTS, IN THIS NATURAL WORLD, YOU PROBABLY SHOULDN’T BE PUTTING IT IN YOUR BODY.
Doing something like this takes a lot of commitment, will-power and self-control. The beauty of it? After you finish you can’t push the rewind button and erase what you know. That first bite of processed food that goes into your body will immediately remind you of how contaminated “normal” food is.
In the end, it’s about getting over the excuses, admitting you truly don’t know much about the food you consume, educating yourself through every resource you can find, challenging yourself to build a stronger you and making your life the best that it can be. You are the only person who has complete control over you. You are responsible for yourself. And if you have kids and feed a family, you are the one who is nourishing or literally poisoning them with each meal you whip up. As Mary Catherine Gallager would say from the movie Superstar, “Take that and stick it in your back pocket!”
If you have any questions, concerns or just want to talk about making some changes don’t hesitate to connect with me. Remember, there are no stupid questions. This process is about learning. There is no longer a need to feel intimidated by the unknown. Take control and get back what’s yours! (Your body, your health and your mind) And don’t forget, I’m still learning too. I don’t know everything and don’t have all of the answers. I truly feel that there is power in numbers and together anything is possible.