Somewhat quickly, I decided to drastically alter my diet*. It started when I decided that I was going to give up gluten, but has quickly evolved into so much more after spending a snow day reading Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It by Gary Taubes (and currently reading It Starts with Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig). My hope is to semi-regularly post about it here over the next 30 days. I want to be able to read back through the ups and the downs when 30 days are through.
I’m using a mix of the Whole 30 and the Primal Blueprint as a set of guidelines for the next 30 days. The Whole 30 challenges you to give up all grains, legumes, dairy, added sugar (including artificial sweeteners), white potatoes, and alcohol for 30 days (see the rules here). The Primal Blueprint is similar, but allows for dairy and “sensible indulgences” (see rules here). There are a lot of other smaller differences between the two guidelines that I’m just not going to focus on yet, because frankly, it’s too overwhelming for me to think about them this early on.
The rules of the challenges have rendered the vast majority of the items in my freezer and pantry as items that I cannot consume (at least for the next 30 days). That Progresso Tomato Basil Soup? It contains add sugar, soy (a legume), and wheat. The Green Giant Broccoli, Cauliflower, and Carrots & Cheese Sauce frozen Steamers? It’s out because it contains dairy (that one is easy), but also corn starch, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, corn syrup solids, and hydrolized corn gluten. I guess Gary Taubes was absolutely correct when he said that if a food is super easy to eat (open can, pop in microwave), it’s probably not so great for you.
Thankfully, I feel mostly prepared to face this challenge, and even more so once I have restocked my kitchen accordingly. Nonetheless, the Whole 30/Primal Blueprint is going to be difficult because habits are hard to break. Emotional ties to foods are hard to break. My love of bagels with cream cheese and popcorn and red wine and chocolate is going to make these foods hard to avoid for the next 30 days. Just scan through the past several recipes that I’ve posted on this blog, and they’ve all broken the rules of the Whole 30 and/or Primal Blueprint.
So, why am I doing this? There are many reasons. First, I am now convinced by the scientific evidence, coupled with countless testimonials, that I am well-suited for this kind of diet*. I’m not compelled by the recent popularity of the paleo movement. In fact, I ignored the entire idea of this type of diet specifically because of its associations with the paleo diet, a diet that seemed like a baseless fad. Second, I have really struggled with maintaining an even energy level lately, and my hope is that this will help. Third, I have nothing to lose! 30 days is not that long. Last, and probably most importantly, I have family members struggling from issues that are seemingly directly linked to a grain- and starch-filled diet, so it seems like a good idea to be proactive in my own health. The Primal Blueprint requests even less time – 21 days. At the end of a month, if I don’t notice any changes, then I can just go back to wacky mac and gnocchi. In a nutshell, my reasons are scientific evidence, the hope for more even energy levels, nothing to lose, and improvements in my health outcomes.
So here’s what I had yesterday:
Breakfast: Chopped green bell pepper and onion sauteed with two eggs in olive oil, Irish breakfast tea (no added sweetener!)
Lunch: green beans and leftover ground turkey taco meat (I didn’t have any salad greens, so I just used green beans as a salad base), frozen peaches & strawberries, a small can of v8
Snacks: smoked almonds, 1 serving of Bolthouse Farms Green Goddess juice, raisins
Dinner: leftover marinated pork from dinner the night before and a banana
Thoughts on yesterday’s meals: My meals could have been better balanced. I would have relied on more vegetables and fewer fruits if I had more on hand. Like I said, I jumped into this pretty quickly, so until I can make a good grocery run, I’ll have to work with what I’ve got.
Thoughts on yesterday’s feelings: I had a somewhat dull headache throughout the day, and I was very tired. I can’t attribute this to the food changes because I’m currently finishing a round of antibiotics that have made me feel fatigued since I started them. I really wanted to snack on popcorn in the evening and seriously considered breaking the grain rule for just popcorn. I decided against it and heeded the warning on the Whole 30 forums that it’s a slippery slope to break a rule and that it’s only 30 days. I was not particularly hungry yesterday, except for around noon and 5pm, which are standard meal times for me. Interestingly, I knew I was hungry, but my stomach wasn’t growling. On mornings that I eat oatmeal or bagels, my stomach will actually growl well before lunch. Finally, I probably could have lived without several of the snacks, and I will try to do better about snacking going forward. Again: I could have done better yesterday with more planning and better food options in the freezer/pantry.
*I want to be clear that I’m not “going on a diet.” When I use the word diet, I simply mean the array of foods that I eat rather than the quantity of food that I eat.