When a Splenda Addict Goes Whole 30
Have you heard about Whole 30?
Whole 30 is an eating plan that was developed back in 2009 by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig, sports nutritionists. The plan only came onto my radar several months ago, long after I had sworn off ever going on another “diet,” but before I eagerly jumped on the last fad diet bandwagon sweeping our community. I followed that one to a tee, lost weight, started eating normal food in a normal way, and promptly gained it all back.
Well, I think I gained it all back, but I’ve sworn off the scale again so I’m going by what my belt and the mirror tell me.
My brain knows the right way to eat. My mom showed me by preparing delicious, nutritious mostly home raised food my whole childhood. On the weekends, we were allowed to have one glass of Pepsi, and it was a treat not our normal beverage.
If that weren’t enough, I also learned about healthy eating in 4-h in every cooking project from Let’s Start Cooking to Making Yeast Breads. I practically copied the nutrition information from my project books word for word each year when I completed the many pages of the “yellow” form trying to win awards at our county Awards Night.
I wanted more blue ribbons. And plaques. And the coveted I Dare You award.
Sidebar: I should write an entire post about 4-h! I absolutely loved it and have many, many fond memories of participating.
My first college degree was in Home Economics with a concentration in Foods and Nutrition, so I studied and was taught the importance of fueling the body with good, nutritious food. But I often have difficulty moving such knowledge from my brain into action with my body.
I’m really embarrassed to think back to one of the summers the boys were all playing ball and we were gone from home night after night after night. We had Pizza Hut in town then and they had $5 large pizzas available every night. We ate them, and ate them, and ate them. I wouldn’t have won a blue ribbon for feeding my kids healthy food that summer.
Suffice it to say my own eating habits veered toward the dark side way too much of the time. This spring when my once special- occasion salted caramel blizzard was dangerously close to becoming more than once a week, and I started to eat black pepper potato chips from Aldi as a daily appetizer as I prepared lunch, and I couldn’t remember the last time I drank a full glass of water, I knew I had to get myself back under control.
People in an educational Young Living Essential Oil Facebook group I’m in started raving about the success they were having with the Whole 30 diet, encouraging everyone to consider doing it. I bought It Starts With Food and the Whole 30 Cookbook and started reading about it. It made perfect sense to my brain.
And I was scared to death to begin, actually feeling anxious at the thought of giving up Diet Pepsi, heavy on the ice.
Here is how Whole 30 works:
No legumes or corn or peanuts.
No sugar or other sweetening ingredients, including honey.
No vegetable oil.
No artificial sweeteners.
Basically, no processed food.
No fun for 30 days.
No wait, I added that part because that is how it seemed.
Goodness. No wonder I was nervous about the whole idea! You might be asking why would anyone sign up for this?
Here is what you CAN EAT on Whole 30:
Benefits of Whole 30
Here are the benefits promised by the developers and repeated over and over by the 37,000 people in the Whole 30 First-timers Facebook group.
- weight loss
- improved athletic performance
- better sleep
- improved focus and mental clarity
- improved mood
- improved relationship with food
- reduced or elimination of cravings
- food freedom
And then there are the testimonials of people who claim improvement or “cure” of health conditions…….
high blood pressure • high cholesterol • type 1 diabetes • type 2 diabetes • asthma • allergies • sinus infections • hives • skin conditions • endometriosis • PCOS • infertility • migraines • depression • bipolar disorder • heartburn • GERD • arthritis • joint pain • ADD • thyroid dysfunction • Lyme disease • fibromyalgia • chronic fatigue • lupus • leaky gut syndrome • Crohn’s • IBS • Celiac disease • diverticulitis • ulcerative colitis
One of the most touted benefits is the infamous TIGER BLOOD, the marked increase in energy levels.
Ok. These all certainly upped the interested factor. So, I decided to give Whole 30 a try with a projected start date of June 1. I ultimately ended up beginning May 23 because just knowing I planned to start the plan turned me into an EATING MONSTER. The fear of gaining 20 pounds during the month of May and vacation coming in June was the impetus I needed to begin.
I asked about it on Facebook and got a lot of encouragement from people, near and far who were either in the midst of a round or had just completed a round or were planning their next round. I pushed through my fear of no Diet Pepsi, flavored creamer in my coffee, or artificially sweetened tea, or peanut butter and toast for breakfast, told a few people for accountability purposes and began.
It really helped that Brock was pretty much eating “clean” anyway and Brad is willing to go along with most of my schemes. Kelly and Melissa shared recipes and websites with me and Richard and Tami decided to do it to, starting 5 days before me. Seeing that they remained their sweet, happy selves was an encouragement to me that this wouldn’t kill me and was doable. My sister, Karen, joined us, too.
Tips, Tricks, and Take-Aways from my Whole 30 Experience
- Be prepared….grocery lists, food prep, emergency plan
- You will get reacquainted with your kitchen, big time. We have never eaten so many good, delicious foods so many days in a row. I discovered again that I really do like to cook and try new recipes!
- Roasted veggies are delicious!
- Eating out had become my go to. I thought it was because we were so busy, but now I know it was just because I had gotten lackadaisical about it.
- Maybe it wasn’t the best idea ever to do this while the guys were farming nonstop. It wasn’t easy to come up with foods to take to the field day after day, but I did it! And my farmers enjoyed their healthy meals. Something that saved me was crock-pot freezer meals. I think I will do a separate post on the recipes which we really enjoyed.
- We have tried and loved lots of new foods.
- Read labels. Read labels. Read labels. Did I mention read labels? You may be shocked like I was that sugar is added to EVERYTHING.
- Food is medicine.
- Compliant Larabars and nuts will become your friends if you need to eat something quickly but can’t find compliant fast food.
- I often felt like a pioneer woman because as soon as I finished one meal, I had to begin at least thinking about the next one.
- It was worth it to be to make a trip to Fresh Thyme for compliant Ketchup and BBQ sauce.
- When your tastebuds aren’t deadened by artificial sugar, fruit can almost taste too sweet.
- Sugar cravings gone.
- I lost weight.
- Around Day 5 I noticed my brain fog had lifted and I credit that to no more Splenda. I don’t want to go back to that foggy feeling.
- Dark circles are very much decreased.
- I slept like a log and had to make myself stay up until 9:00 a few evenings. I also have started dreaming again almost every night. I especially remember waking up in the middle of a really good dream one morning and trying to go back to sleep so I could find out what happened next!
- I don’t know that I ever really experienced “Tiger Blood” but I did do all my ironing and even scrubbed the grout in the back of our house with a brush on my hands and knees.
- I learned I really can live without flavored coffee creamer, diet Pepsi and a LOT of Splenda sweetened Tea.
I’m on the reintroduction phase right now, trying to add foods slowly back into my diet to determine what “sets me off”. Honestly, the first slice of plain white bread I ate tasted like yucky cardboard. My taste buds seem to have changed. However, I bet they still love all the foods made by my mom and mother-in-law and I plan to eat them whenever I have the chance.
If you have completed a “round” of Whole 30, I’d love to hear all about it. If you are interested, let’s discuss it! I can steer you toward some great resources and very helpful Facebook groups.
I hope you are having a great summer!