It’s been two weeks into the Whole 30 challenge and the good news is- I am still alive. Actually I am more than alive; it’s a whole new world of feeling energized, thinking fresh, talking too much, and being inspired to work out!
While I would love to talk about all the great things that Whole 30 offers, today I want to talk about the challenges I have had to face for two weeks and if one of you decides to do a Whole 30 kick-start, these could be some of the things to consider.
Before starting my day one, I had prepared for Whole 30 really good. I printed out a shopping list, threw away everything in my kitchen that wasn’t allowed (this includes all types of Oreo cookies) bought all new organic herbs, fresh veggies, fruits, and overall every single ingredient I needed for the first 3 days of Whole 30. I ended up spending around $450 for the 3 days. Who would have thought that eating healthy is more expensive than eating out every day! Well, I was so motivated to get it done, plus I had already spent too much energy and money so I wasn’t going to step back.
Next 3 days I wouldn’t finish cooking until 10:30 pm because I was following every single step of the recipes looking at the book, to a point that if I didn’t have one ingredient, I would go to the store, buy it and then continue. Me following every single step was becoming an inside joke.
I thought that every single word mattered and every single minute was important. What I didn’t realize was that it was taking too much time from my evening and then too much energy. The book is great but you have to find the way to personalize it according to your needs and abilities. By the third day I was so exhausted, I thought that I couldn’t continue no more. For that day's dinner I had to make salmon in the oven with veggies. I quickly read the ingredients and then I thought to myself, “hold on, I have made salmon before, who says I can’t make it now?” I realized that all I had to do was making sure nothing extra goes into the dinner if it wasn't Whole 30 approved. So I took the olive oil, then seasoned the fish, put veggies around, and put it into the oven. Dinner was ready in overall 30 minutes which was better than me spending hours and hours following every single step, every single measurement. That day I realized that this was the only way to make it work, and enjoy the process in between. I like to improvise in the kitchen, so this gave me the liberty of creating what I wanted keeping in mind what I could and couldn’t use.
From that day on things became so much easier. Making a little extra would be good leftovers for the next day’s lunch, so I wouldn’t have to wake up at 4 am and make lunch. Things started working my way. Then I went to farmer's market and handpicked the veggies and fruits that I knew I needed. As much as I would love to make all different squash dishes the book offers, it takes me forever to cut it, and then another forever to cook it. I decided that instead of making squash with the meat, I could make it with other veggies, things that I actually like, so the cauliflower, potatoes and some cabbage and carrot salad came to save the missing squash. Little by little I learnt that the best way to make this work was to get the main idea of the book but to also balance it with what you can do. I started learning my body and my needs.
As coffee is allowed in Whole 30, I tried drinking the coffee without milk, which really made me sick. So on the 4th day I decided to add some coconut milk in it, which was allowed by the program. As I had never had coconut milk before that, I was curious to see if by any chance it would be close to real milk. Well my coffee felt a lot better with coconut milk but 5 minutes later I had an allergic reaction to it! Next thing I knew my eye started itching and in 10 minutes it became a giant ball. I ran to a market next to me and bought Zyrteck ( allergy pills) which quickly helped me to recover. Well, the lesson was learnt- I was allergic to coconut milk, and I was doomed to drinking my coffee black. I realized that at the age of 27 you still could learn something new about your body. I also learnt that my body started being in harmony with me.
I started feeling a lot lighter and better, and I learnt to shop per my needs and to shop smart, finding better prices. Really, I didn’t have to buy dried rosemary as a must ingredient; if instead of dried rosemary I like dried cilantro, or basil I can just use that- it’s approved in the program! The point is simple, if you decide to start Whole 30 don’t try to buy every single ingredient there is, buy what you like (allowed by the book) and try to enjoy the process being on the same page with the book. It really is true once you are in harmony with your body, you are in harmony with the world, and everything starts feeling so much easier after couple of days.
Anyone who has been to Epiphany knows that we are the happy M&Ms community in Carmel. There are about 5 different types of candies at Epiphany, and of course the first few days staring at chocolates was not helping me at all. Once I learnt to control my food emotions, believe me when I tell you all the M&Ms in the world don’t feel appealing to me no more. So yes, Whole 30 has taught me to say no. Find your happy medium and remember no one can make a change for you unless you decide to make the change yourself.
From Epiphany with love,
Never to have coconut milk again,