I’ve never been one to jump on the diet bandwagon, so when I started this whole process of ‘cleansing’, I wanted to do it MY way, as I usually do. I had heard a lot about the Whole30 elimination diet, and it just felt right to me at this time, so I jumped in.
After spending three years being a gypsy wandering Jew nomad, I finally decided to cool off, and with that came a boat load of self-care, grounding and the development of healthy rituals. Having a low functioning immune system, I can never take too much pre-emptive care of my body (and I can never STRESS enough to young people how important it is to not let your health get away from you. I sound just like my mother…) I’ll be the first to tell anyone about the immune boosting properties of elderberry syrup, methal-vitamin-B12, probiotics of course, proper essential oils usage, epsom salt baths, osha root tincture, raw garlic shots, and then these incredible powerful herb blends I’ve been toying with to fight adrenal blow out… check those out here and use my promo code for a discount: sg151 … but that’s all for other blog post. THIS post, is simply about FOOD.
Basically the idea of the program is that you clean out your system, only eating whole, healthy foods for 30 days. That means no sugar, no carbs, no dairy, no additives or preservatives, no alcohol, no THC, basically no toxins. Period. Seemed reasonable enough…. mind you, I was up for a challenge.
It has been years since I decided to really clean my system out… I’d do a week or two here, no alcohol there, but never had I given up dairy and carbs and sugar all at once.
I have to say, this process has been the easiest most difficult thing I’ve ever done. Let me explain.
I’m really mostly an all or nothing kind of girl. Once I set my mind to something, few things can get in my way, except myself, of course. And believe me, I’ve tried to talk myself into quitting since day one… but something tells me this is going to be worth it.
After the ridiculously extravagant holiday season of eating and drinking freely, pared with all the negativity and general malaise that comes with winter time, I decided January 1st to embark on this cleansing journey. Showing up is the hardest part, right? And to show up, you have to prepare.
Never in my life have I been so tied to a food processor. I bought new spices I had never had in my pallet; other ingredients on my grocery list included: ghee, dairy and gluten free mayo, ridiculous amounts of coconut milk and vegetables, and a slew of other foreign ingredients that were permitted. I even bought FRUIT (gasp… I really don’t care for fruit).
One of the illustrated ‘perks’ of this ‘diet’ (and I HATE to call it a diet, because it’s really just eating HEALTHY) is not the emphasis on losing weight, but the focus on reshaping your relationship with food. So far, my shopping skills have improved dramatically, as well as my meal planning, portioning and recipe book. Turns out, cooking HEALTHY is challenging, but I’m enjoying it! And without the alcohol or other distracting activities, there’s not much else to focus on.
While you CAN eat bacon (and I have), this particular meal plan forbids beans or grains of any kind, so no hummus, no quinoa, and no rice, of course. That’s probably the hardest element to overcome… though innately hummus and beans and legumes aren’t BAD for you, the idea is that you are breaking the not-so-good habits that go along with resorting to these simple foods. Rice is an obvious filler to avoid, but with the beans and quinoa, the reason to avoid them is very different: Quinoa is a seed and contains lectins and saponins which are gut irritants. It also can interfere with absorption of other good nutrients so essentially they get in the way of your healthy digestion. Bye bye hummus 😦 Hello Tahini (recipe below)
Overall, for me personally, the goals are three fold. 1. To break some old habits and form new ones. 2. To reset my digestive system and teach my body how to burn fat differently. 3. To see if the glutton and sugar and dairy buffet I’ve become so accustomed to is what is causing some of my fatigue issues. My doctor said to cut them out for a month, so I’m giving it a go, and long overdue.
Like I said, this has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done… which is why I have to keep going. If my body was THAT addicted to sugar and grains (and I eat pretty healthy generally, without giving it a lot of thought) then think of what it could be doing running at 100%.
It’s been ‘easy’ in a sense that I know in my heart I’ve got to do it. End of story. No questions asked, even when I want to give up, that’s when I have to push harder. And it’s been HARD in all the ways you can imagine… The other night I was dreaming about eating Subway (I don’t even like Subway!) and in my dream I thought “Wait, you can’t eat white bread!” Going to Chipotle (yes, with a little research, you can still eat out) was quite possible the strongest testament of will I have faced yet. If you know me, you know that looking white stuff in the face and saying NO is almost impossible. (I’m talking about Sour Cream, silly. And that blessed cheese… ah, I digress)
But I was able to DO IT. I said no, and I still ate SOMETHING, and I survived. I have to admit I’m getting pretty sick of salad, but it feels good to know what I’m making good choices and not regretting it. Even with the headaches and brain fog and hormones going WACK, it’s still worth it (sorry about that Michael. At least he still likes my cooking…)
Today marks the two week milestone. Two more to go, and I feel like the real work is just beginning. I’ll be traveling these next few weeks, making food prep and planning even harder.
I keep reminding myself that the cravings and strong desires I’m having for CARBS is really my body’s old habits and parasites taking their last breaths. The idea is that my body will start burning FAT instead of sugar/carbs, and I’ll walk away from this with a better attitude about what I put into my body. Big changes, baby steps.
Thank you Adina for inspiring me to take this journey, and for anyone who has shared recipes and ideas on how to make it to the other side. Emily with her cashew cream cheese about saved my life. I found seed crackers, with the cheese and raw salmon and on everything bagel w/ lox and capers craving was at least curbed, for now.
I don’t intend to do this forever. But I welcome some new habits and am excited about making better choices in the future.
I’ll post a few of my favorite recipes below.
If you’re thinking about doing a cleanse, don’t be intimidated. It doesn’t have to be the Whole30 right now. But you should do some research, pick something that sits right for you, and make sure you’re not doing more harm that good. Crash diets don’t work if you just crash and burn right back to your old habits. Self care starts with you wanting to take care of you. Be gentle with yourself and listen to your inner voice… which is a lot easier when you cut out all the crap that was getting in the way.
Bon appetite, ma famille!
PS. I MISS CHEESE THE MOST