Eating healthy is a struggle. From the shopping to the preparation and temptation, it’s certainly not easy. I try to keep my diet as healthy as possible but decided to take it up a notch by doing the Whole 30 program. Whole 30 is a nutrition program that encourages you to keep your diet as clean as possible by cutting out grains, added sugar, alcohol and dairy products for 30 days. I started this program to get a new perspective on healthy food. My recipes were getting to be boring, and I wanted to challenge myself by limiting the ingredients I can use.
Week 1: The Crabby Week
Week one was a tough one for sure. Headed to the grocery store with a limited list, I found myself picking up everything, reading the ingredients, and was amazed at how many foods have added sugar. I stuck to mainly meat and vegetables until I was able to accept that I couldn’t eat everything I wanted. Week one was also when my crabby stage started. I got angry and short-tempered more times than usual. I wasn’t sure what I could eat and my food became even more boring than it was before I started.
Week 2: The Experimentation Week
For week two I forced myself to become more creative. I thought outside of just salads and plain meals. I realized that by not having any processed foods or seasonings, I was in control of the flavors that my food had. I began to take risks and put together combinations that I thought sounded good and hoped for the best. I started eating things like
balsamic eggplant pizza and homemade turkey meatballs with spaghetti squash and finding out what flavors I liked.
The biggest challenge of this week was pushing myself out of my comfort zone in the kitchen and really thinking about the flavors I wanted to have.
Week 3: The Temptation Week
During this week, I started feeling awesome! I had loads of energy and everything in my life was following that pattern. Going through my normal routine wasn’t so hard anymore. I found balance in what I could and could not eat and was able to venture out to restaurants… That’s where the temptation came in. Going to a restaurant when you are following a program is challenging but doable. I’ve learned that any restaurant can accommodate food needs, but the temptation is still there. In a city filled with great food, it was extremely difficult not to fall into old habits. Thank goodness that Savannah has a ton of great seafood, or I may not have made it through!
Week 4: Crossing the Finish Line
After the first three weeks, I was extremely excited to be done, but eating within the restrictions of the Whole 30 program wasn’t so hard anymore. It became easy to recognize which choices were approved and which were not. I had tons of energy and felt like a rockstar! As difficult as it was when I started, there were certain foods that I just didn’t miss and didn’t crave.
I had learned to control cravings for not-so-healthy foods by using my new found knowledge of flavor to substitute.
Week 5: Readjusting
Finishing the 30 days was an up and down struggle, but well worth it. I learned to look at food differently and take healthy choices into my own hands. Now that I’ve finished the 30 days, I have a ton of new healthy recipes to add into my routine and even lost seven pounds. I do try to still eat somewhat within these guidelines but with a new appreciation for flavor and great-tasting food.