Hi, Sarah here! It seems like these past couple of weeks have been full of graduation celebrations! Even Campus Coworking Space celebrated a graduation.
Whole 30 graduation!
We were lucky enough to have Whole 30 Certified Coach, Leah Roberts from Capital Region Medical Center come to Campus every Tuesday for six weeks to teach us, encourage us, and bring us food. Each week she brought a new food lesson and a new dish to try.
Even though I have watched just about every food documentary on Netflix, I still learned so much from her. I came away from the class with a new outlook on certain foods and a real awareness of how important reading food labels is.
In this week’s blog post, Leah is providing the plus and minus’ of Whole 30, so you can decide if it is for you. Take it away, Leah!
I’ve been sharing tales in this space of Killing All Things or Slaying My Sugar Dragon or whether I found my Tiger Blood for over 2 years. No, I’m not a fiction writer or an animal trainer. I’m a Whole30 certified coach and I teach people to discover how their health, habits and relationship with food can change as a result of doing a Whole30 elimination diet. Killing All Things, Slaying the Sugar Dragon and finding Tiger Blood are stages and milestones that you pass through on your Whole30 journey.
What is Whole30?
For 30 days, you commit to eliminating 5 common elements from your diet.
At the conclusion of 30 days, you systematically reintroduce all the categories that have been eliminated and evaluate your health, your habits and your relationship with food.
Eliminating certain foods and additives makes decision making really easy. Most of us would agree we consume too much sugar. But if I ask you to reduce sugar, you might reply-by how much? Reduce by half a cup? Half a cookie? The decision making is endless, arbitrary and inconsistent. On Whole30, you don’t eat anything with added sugar for 30 days and the choices may be difficult but they also become straightforward and precise. Additionally, your sugar cravings diminish and you begin to slay your sugar dragon. You eat this way for 30 days in order to help better evaluate the impact of a particular food group once it is reintroduced.
Now that we’ve established the Whole 30 approach, let’s explore some of the pluses and minuses that arise when Whole30 is discussed.
A common misconception is that eliminating foods isn’t necessary or healthy. That might be true if Whole30 was a 365 day lifestyle. It isn’t. It’s just 30 dedicated days to reveal the impact of certain foods on your health, habits and relationship with food.
“I want to try this but isn’t it expensive to eat health food?”
Allow me to introduce you to your new friends: Discount grocery stores and Left Overs. Our family usually saves money during Whole30 because we are intentionally planning meals, shopping at discount stores and eating what we make. Other food and diet programs require monthly fees for participation. Whole30 places all of its resources online for you to access for free. Multiple Instagram pages and Facebook groups host free support groups. One of my goals in hosting local, Jefferson City Whole30 groups is to help introduce our community to affordable, delicious, easy and nutritious recipes.
But “Eating this way takes too much time and preparation. I’m too tired” some protest!
Eating whole, nutrient rich food brings clarity of thought, creativity and Tiger Blood! Your body kicks it into high gear when you feed it high octane food. You develop new habits of cooking new recipes and thus you develop new routines. Instead of reaching for the box of wheat crackers when you walk in the door from work, you reach for the cutting board and the vegetable de jour.
Hold on, now! “Bread is a grain and it occupies a seriously large space on the food pyramid so it must be an essential part of the diet. Don’t we need the B9 in bread?”
Here’s the no bread benefit: The fiber and nutrients found in bread are found in a variety of vegetables. When we increase the amount of vegetables in our diet, instead of eating bread, we gain a host of phytonutrutients (healthy chemicals found in plants) without the added ingredients commonly found in bread. Check the bread in your pantry right now. I’m pretty sure when you read the ingredient list you will see high fructose corn syrup plus a number of chemicals and preservatives that you can’t pronounce and aren’t derived from a plant. Avocadoes, spinach, lettuce and asparagus have B9 and fiber in abundance!
“Beans are the magical fruit!”
For most people, beans ARE a magical source of fiber and protein. But for a few people, beans are a source of bloating and gastric distress. What if the reason you are dive bombing your coworkers with wafts of nose flaring toots is the result of beans in your diet? Maybe the discomfort you experience after a meal at El Jims is not because you ate too much but because beans aren’t your friend?
Amidst the Keto craze many think “Cheese is my low carb life.”
Do you suffer from migraines? Many migraines may be reduced with the elimination of dairy. Wouldn’t a life without migraines or greatly reduced migraines be worth a 30 day experiment? But if dairy isn’t the culprit, wouldn’t it be great to be free to enjoy cheese and not worry if it’s the root of your migraine? See what elimination diets can do!
“I can’t live without soda, sweet tea or coffee creamer.”
You are stronger than you think. Yes, you can. And when you do it for 30 days you will be so incredibly proud of yourself. Cravings will diminish and you will begin to crave new things like roasted sweet potatoes and air fried Brussel sprouts. Oh, how I feel your doubts at this moment. Here’s the most often quoted line of the Whole30 “It is not hard. Quitting heroin is hard, fighting cancer is hard, drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard.”
Whole30 fills your diet with wonderfully healthy and diverse foods that taste delicious. Because you are no longer filling your plate with biscuits and gravy or waffles and syrup, you can learn about breakfast frittatas. What’s a frittata, you ask? Take the journey and find out. You are also learning about sheet pan meals. What’s a sheet pan meal? That’s just one more thing you are going to discover on Whole30.
“Eating this way takes too much time and preparation. I’m too tired.”
Eating this way brings clarity of thought, creativity and Tiger Blood! Our body kicks it into high gear when we are feeding it high octane food. When you stop eating junk food, convenience food, and highly processed food, you start to eat foods that grow in gardens or meats that are fed by plants. Your body has a chance to receive nutrient rich food. Your energy levels improve and your mood stabilizes. Who doesn’t want that?
“Will I lose weight?”
Whole30 has never claimed to be a weight loss diet. In fact, one of the rules of the Whole30 is that you don’t weigh for 30 days. Why? So that you can pay more attention to your health and your habits and concentrate less on the number on a scale.
I’ve explained the Whole 30 approach and I’ve tried to address some of the common questions that arise. Now I have a question for you. Are you intrigued? If so, I encourage you to dig deep by reading the book Whole30 or explore the science of Whole30 by reading It Starts With Food, both by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig. Whole30 is found locally at Target and Downtown Book and Toy while It Starts with Food is best ordered.
If you want to explore your health, habits and relationship with food, then, I invite you to join us in class as we journey together and share the tips and tricks of doing a Whole30.
For more information or an upcoming class schedule or , call 573-632-5593.
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