I knew that we would be successful in completing this, but I didn't know what would happen as we reached the end of it. Last year, we did the 21 Day Fix. At the end of the 21 days, we were pretty much like this...
We woke up on the 22nd day, ate pancakes and ice cream for breakfast, and then became very ill. And resumed eating our sad, SAD (Standard American) diet. I knew that eating the way we were eating on the 21 Day Fix made me feel pretty good, and when my health totally fell apart in late December of last year, it was during a time of eating especially like an unsupervised seventh grader. I had hospital visits, admissions, testing, medications, appointments, a very drastic weight loss, and felt awful all of the time. I also found out last year through testing that I am fructose intolerant, and I know that I have an autoimmune disorder (one that doesn't quite exactly match any currently defined diagnosis). My gastrointestinal system tends to get very crazy, and then probably because of that, or for some other reason, I stop absorbing vitamins. Nothing good comes from that. A few months ago, I had a doctors appointment, and my doctor basically said, "Clean up your diet. Clean it up. You are lucky that you have a solution to your health problems, so just do it, or you are going to get sicker and sicker." A few weeks later, we started the Whole30. It was a day or two after my husband's 40th birthday. He will usually just go along with whatever I say as far as things like this, and he had a little weight he wanted to lose.
And we have now completed those thirty days of eating no sugar, no flour, no grains, no dairy, and no alcohol. No smoothies, no paleo desserts, just food. People have asked me what we have been eating, and how are we doing this with three kids. Here are some things to share about that:
- Almost everything we have eaten during this time has been delicious. I mean, really, really awesome. And most times, the kids agree with that. They will not eat a ton of vegetables, but as far as the main dish we prepare every night, they have been really good with it. We would often make them pasta or macaroni and cheese to supplement what we were having.
- We had a lot of grilled chicken thighs, steak, whole chicken, brisket, hamburgers, pork chops, eggs, cauliflower rice, asparagus, avocados, guacamole, roasted potatoes, eggs, eggs, and eggs. I have loved eating an apple with sugar free Sunbutter every day. It has all been good. No feeling of deprivation, at least for me. But look at this beautiful food! This is how we will make asparagus forever. And the brisket recipe we made, from the original Whole30 book, will definitely be in our weekly rotation.
- I have been drinking massive amounts of hot tea. If there has anything that has brought me through this, it is Harney & Sons tea. I love my electric tea kettle.
- And speaking of appliances, we have used our Vitamix, an immersion blender, and the Instant Pot a lot. You can do this without those things, but being able to use them has for sure made it easier.
- In emergencies, we have been eating Whole30 compliant Larabars and RX Bars. These are recommended in emergencies only, because people eat them like candy bars. To me they are nothing like a candy bar, and I was fine with using them on nights we had activities and no time for a big meal.
- What I did eat too much of is dried fruit from Trader Joe's. Yep.
- The key to the whole thing is meal prep, cooking in bulk, and planning. My husband has been the one to cook all of this. He made all of the sauces, he chopped all the vegetables, he handled the meat, he made the bone broth. I am so grateful to him for that.
Now we are at the end of this, and I was thinking over the last week about what I want to do in terms of reintroducing food. I have not been looking forward to this day. I am really afraid to do anything that will result in me going back to feeling how I was feeling before this. Right now, I am happy. I have energy like I haven't felt in years, or ever. My mood is so much more even, and I am so much more patient with my kids. I have no weird medical symptoms, no shooting pains in my legs, no random daytime anxiety, no acid reflux, and the arthritis in my foot went away. There is an old dieting saying that nothing tastes as good as being thin feels. I don't agree with that, but I will say that nothing tastes as good as being as healthy as I am right now feels. And as far as weight, I have only lost a few pounds (which is good, because I didn't need to lose any more weight), but my husband has lost a substantial amount. I bought half and half a few days ago, thinking that I would maybe add a little bit to my morning coffee as a start, but honestly, I am now kind of scared to even do that. I would rather keep eating like this, add in more vegetables and more exercise, and keep feeling amazing. I am starting a business and I am LOVING it. I am raising three awesome kids, and taking care of my home and family. I need health and energy to do that. The headache of sugar withdrawal, not having cake on my son's birthday, all of those kinds of things- that is much better for me than sitting on the couch wishing I could make changes. Making actual changes feels good. And I felt so great by the 8th day of this, that it honestly became pretty easy after that.