I finished my second Whole30 last week, but before I begin to tell you about how amazing it was (again!), let me get a few things out of the way.
1) I wrote a similar post a few years ago called Stop Eating Gluten-Free Foods that got tons of comments, both good and bad. Feel free to revisit.
2) I’m not food-shaming anybody here. Just giving some friendly advice as to what worked for me.
3) If you eat poorly and have no desire to change, this post is not for you.
4) If you’re struggling with your health but will absolutely not give up [insert treat here] for 30 days, this post is not for you.
5) But if you are low on energy and feeling generally blah, read on and prepare to be transformed (a tad dramatic…I know.)
Winter can be a lot of fun, but man is it tough on my body. Thanksgiving leads into our winter vacation, which leads into Christmas, which leads into New Years, which leads into…well…the party continues. By the end of January, my body was begging me to stop. I was tired. Beyond tired. I had trouble focusing at work. I was a beaten man.
And mostly, I got into bad habits (feel free to spank me.) I would have a drink or two a few times during the week. I would grab a gluten-free cookie (or two) here and there. I would have a Hershey bar simply because they were in the fridge. I’d overeat at meals. Individually, none of these things would kill me. But put them all together, and it’s a recipe for disaster for this celiac.
At the end of January, Mrs. Dude, who was also feeling the effects of a fun winter, said she was going to do the Whole30. She knows what it did for me the first time I did it. Without even asking me to join her, I jumped at the chance. “I’m in!” And so our 30 day journey began. We toasted ourselves with a gin & tonic and a bag of chips. Just kidding.
In case you are wondering “what the hell is the Whole30?”, let me summarize. It’s a way to cleanse and kick-start your body and also an opportunity to change the way you think about food and why you eat the way you eat. For 30 days, you give up all sugar (real or artificial), alcohol, grains, legumes, dairy and obviously gluten. What can you eat? Plenty. Meat, fish, veggies, fruit (in moderation), sweet potatoes, eggs and tequila (just seeing if you’re paying attention.)
The next day, Mrs. Dude took out a second mortgage on our home and went grocery shopping to prepare for our month. We were ready to go.
And now here I am 30+ some days later and I’m telling you, the program is nothing short of amazing. I’m sure you’ve got questions, so I’ll ask them myself.
How hard is it? (that’s what she said)
You can do anything for 30 days.
Spare us the sound bytes. Seriously, how hard is it?
I honestly think it depends on your relationship with food and your desire to change. Since I already gave up gluten and dairy, the switch isn’t so tough for me. It’s more a mental thing because 30 days does seem like a long time when you are just starting it. “Oh my god…I’m only on day 5??” But eventually, I stopped counting the days.
How did Mrs. Dude do?
I won’t speak for her, but she was AWESOME!!!!! It was so much more enjoyable doing it with somebody else this time around. And I was so proud of her.
Didn’t you miss eating ‘normal’ food?
Does this look like I was missing out on anything?
If you are asking me if I missed eating cookies, chips and other treats, the answer is no. It’s when those types of foods become part of my daily routine, when they become my normal, I feel like sh*t. Plain and simple.
What did you miss eating?
Sushi. Sashimi is good but just not quite the same for me.
Did you cheat at all?
Food-wise. Not one bit. Beverage-wise? We went to see a friend for a weekend and had a couple of cocktails. No judging please.
How long did it take you to see/feel the results?
By day 3, I felt the best I had in months. I had a clarity about me. I had a lot more energy and focus. I didn’t nap for the entire 30 days. I know that sounds ridiculous because what kind of grown man takes naps? But I have a couch in my home office. And on many days, I’d be so tired by the afternoon, that I would literally HAVE TO lie down. For 30 days? Not once!
Did you lose weight?
It wasn’t my goal and it shouldn’t be your goal, but yes…I lost 6 pounds, mostly the first 12 days.
Now that the program is over, are you back to eating the way you used to?
Not even close.
Isn’t moderation the key?
Absolutely. But even some moderation for me affects the way I feel. I’m really trying to be in tune with my body. Those with an autoimmune disease should do the same.
You mean you are never having a cookie again???
Of course I’ll have a cookie again. Occasionally. But they will not be a normal staple in our house anymore.
Should I do the Whole30?
I can’t answer that for you. Ah hell…sure I can…YES!!
I am always amazed at the power of food and the effect it has on me, both internally and externally. I know what poor eating habits do to my compromised system and I know what it can do to yours too. It’s why I cringe when people celebrate the fact that Lucky Charms are now gluten-free. And I cringe even more when some of my fellow celiacs promote it. And it’s why I’m disgusted that the Celiac Disease Foundation actually puts their logo on the boxes of Lucky Charms (and Cheerios). When our community “leaders” are promoting crap like this, it makes you wonder whose best interest they have in mind.
See how big the leprechaun’s eyes are? That’s cause he’s on a huge sugar rush. About 30 minutes later, he’ll be fast asleep.
Look…I know this will fall on a lot of deaf ears. Change is hard. Yes…even when it comes to our health. But I know so many in our community continue to suffer even though we are eating “gluten-free”. And I’m telling you, after 30 days of clean eating, it ain’t just the gluten that’s our issue. It’s our food. So stop eating crap if you want to feel good.
AND WE ALL DESERVE TO FEEL GOOD.