Monday, March 2, 2015

Whole30 Challenge

Diet - a word very much over used in the English language. 
Healthy LifeStyle - something often overlooked in today's society

I want to start by saying for my husband and I, being on a diet is not the focus of us participating in the Whole30 challenge (our goal is mentioned later).  Any person would be lying if they said they never wanted to change something about their looks.  No matter how fit you are or how healthy you are, there are day's that you simply do not feel the best.  Maybe you feel fat, your abs aren't big enough, or your muscles are too big as a female for a shirt to fit properly.  In the society that we live in today, everyone is conditioned to search for perfection.  The idea of perfection comes in different forms for everyone, and every day we should strive take a step closer to make us a better person. 

For Joe and I, we tend to live a healthy lifestyle.  We are active and work out regularly, whether it is a quick trip to the gym, a yoga class, or a tennis match. We also eat fairly healthy and don't eat out very often, simply because I love cooking.  That being said, I also love baking, ice cream, and Girl Scout cookie season.  I don't have a huge sweet tooth and we may lead a healthy lifestyle, but sometimes I simply have no self control.  It's easy for me to eat something unhealthy early in the day, then continue the trend simply because I already messed up a "healthy" day.  I also travel a lot, and sometimes it is simple to grab something quick on the go, not necessarily thinking about the nutritional value. I think it is easy to get in a cycle to have a desert after dinner every day, and slowly but surely you crave more and more sweets.  Plus, I am 26 and don't want to live my life not allowing myself to eat foods I enjoy for really long amounts of time!  I don't think I will be 80 one day and think back no how lucky I was to not eat my ice cream because I was on a diet!

Knowing all of this, I had seen/hear/read about a lot of diets/cleanses/etc. Although I had entertained many in the past, none of them seemed to speak to me, since my focus really isn't to lose weight.  A lot of them I questioned, and for that reason I never decided to do them.   I do want to say that I am not judging others that have done any of the mentioned challenges or diets below, they simply are not for me (just like Whole30 may not be for you). A lot of my friends have done one or many of the below, and experienced great results!  Everyone's body's are different and everyone's lifestyles are different, so I really don't believe diets or healthy lifestyles can be "one size fits all".

Juice Cleanse - This is something that I don't this is a "healthy" approach to life.  Overindulging for a couple days/weeks/months, and think you can reverse it in a couple days by only drinking a "cleansing juice".  It may work for some people, but it simply doesn't seem appealing to me.  I cannot force myself to drink something that doesn't taste good to me for days without any solid foods.  I had also heard some horror stories (including one from my mom when she did it years and years ago) that gave the cleanses a bad taste in my mind.

Gluten Free - This is simply a fad diet that somehow caught on like wild fire.There are people out there in the world that are forced to have a gluten free diet for medical reasons.  Without getting into too many details, I have family members that are Celiac, and they will be the first to tell you that it is something that you simply could not life through without knowing you had the intolerance at a young age.  Joe and I have always prepared whole wheat pastas, made whole wheat breads, and enjoyed whole grain granola, and there so many great nutritional aspects of whole grains that people seem to forget.  Looking at ingredient lists of gluten free pastas and breads show that there were even more processed chemicals thrown into these foods in order to make them taste good. For this reason, gluten free never even crossed my mind.

Paleo -  I have a lot of friends that do CrossFit and have gone through the Paleo journey.  Although the concept makes sense, some of it never made sense in my mind. The main obstacle I had in my head was all of the Paleo recipes that simply mimic regular food.  I don't think our ancestors were trying to make bread out of almond flour and dates, and brownies that taste like brownies with the use of some crazy ingredients.

There were several others that have come up, but none seemed to work.  After having a friend do Whole30 (a variation of it) I started reading about it.  A lot of what I struggled with in the Paleo diet was mentioned in the introduction to the challenge.  It was kept simple and straight forward. No grains, sugar (natural or man made), legumes, dairy, processed foods, or preservatives.  Although they emphasize to not edit what they write is approved and unapproved, it didn't match what I wanted to do perfectly, so we made some changes.  We decided that we wouldn't eat potatoes during the duration of the challenge, although they have recently been approved in Whole30.  I am not a huge potato eater anyways so this was a simple decision on my end!  Something I couldn't buy into was smoothies.  Although they aren't labeled off limits in Whole30, they advise against them.  Their reasoning simply did not make sense to me, so we will continue with our smoothies in the morning.  I think they keep me full longer than eating the fruit whole, which is what their argument was for not having smoothies, and in the end, they are just something I was not willing to give up.

So, with these minor changes, and Joe's buy it, we were set to go!  Here are my thoughts so far...
  • First, I will say, it makes it much easier to do it with a friend, roommate, or significant other.  We are only in day 2, but seeing Joe's enthusiasm about the journey makes it that much easier for me!
  • Prepare Meals - Joe's biggest concern is what will replace his daily yogurt and granola for breakfast.  At times he also goes out to eat for lunch, and he wanted to know what he could eat for lunch!  We took about an hour on Sunday to prepare some breakfast and lunch for the week, as well as really plan out dinners!  Quite frankely this was so fun for me but makes the work week much easier!
  • Don't think about what you can't eat, focus on what you can eat!
  • READ all labels!  I tend to read a lot of labels but I have never notices just how many things have sugar in them!
As we go, I will post what we eat, new recipes, and my thoughts!  The last thing to do is set a goal!  So here we go.

GOAL:  Become more aware of what goes into my body, even when I think it is "healthy".  Take 25 days (we are only doing 25 days since Joe's birthday is the 26th of the month)  to truly enjoy simple foods and let my body take a rest a bit and not have to process any preservatives or processed food!  Enjoy 25 days of clean eating to help refocus on the healthy lifestyle we try to lead.

So with that, here we go!  Link below for the program!

Whole30 Instructions

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