Monday, March 5, 2012

day 29.

let's talk about food.

for the past 29 days, my sweet husband and i have been on the adventure known as the Whole30 Program. no, we aren't doing this as a means of "dieting." we each have our own personal reasons as to why we wanted to take part. and it wasn't for the sake of losing weight. for myself, i primarily wanted to try to get a handle on my eating habits. you see, i have what you would call a "sweet tooth." but in my defense, i have really big teeth. and lots of them, at that. so i've been at a disadvantage from the start. i'm hopeless against my sugar cravings!

ok, maybe that's a little dramatic. but seriously? i love sweets. i love chocolate. and caramel. and berries. and pretty much any flavor of ice cream. vanilla bean. whipped cream. peanut butter anything. i love crunchy, and gooey, and melting, and chilled, and fluffy, and dense, and crispy, and fudgey, and sticky, and chewy...all of it. and i normally have no kind of control when it comes to consuming sweets. i had literally convinced myself that even though it's unhealthy, it really doesn't actually do me any harm. not really. but deep down, i know this isn't the case. and this unhealthy approach to food has been bleeding over into the other foods/meals that i eat.

don't get me wrong. in general, i make pretty healthy meals for my family. over the past couple years, i've been intentional about trying to use more fresh produce, and not consuming as much red meat. and most recently, i've been trying to avoid using foods that are sold in possibly harmful packaging or with harmful additives (containing MSG, BHT, BHA etc.), so i probably have a headstart on the general population in terms of being health-conscious.

but i'm also a slacker when it comes to watching portion size. and i tend to base my meals around pasta, or bread, or some other grain-based thing. and i KNOW i haven't been consuming enough veggies, or drinking enough water.

it's never been something for me to freak out over. like i said, i'm actually probably pretty healthy in my eating habits, when compared to the amount of processed foods the majority of americans eat. but something just hasn't been sitting right with me. figuratively. and literally - in my gut.

i couldn't say "no" to sweets. i couldn't say "enough" to limiting my portion of grains or meat. i couldn't say "i'll pass" to starbucks. and i couldn't ignore how upset my stomach was on a regular basis.

my mom has celiac disease (allergy to wheat and gluten), and i've often wondered, though i know i don't have an allergy, could i have a sensitivity to it? or does dairy upset my stomach, and i'm not aware?

so, after talking with a friend who undertook the Whole30 challenge, and hearing his great results, jer and i decided to give it a shot. we cut out all dairy, grains, almost all legumes, and any added sugars or processed foods from our diet. for 30 days.

and friends, tomorrow is day 30.

thank you Jesus, for helping us through this.

it has NOT been easy. and though i can't say all of my stomach issues have cleared up, nor am i feeling more rested or energetic....i CAN say that there's been a mental shift. a shift in the way i approach my relationship with food. no, i haven't cured my insane sweet tooth. though the creators of the Whole30 encourage you to not just find replacements for your sweet fixes, but to try to gain control of them...sometimes jer and i were just trying to survive. and forgive me if a frozen banana, blended with cocoa powder and coconut oil sent me into my chocolate bliss on several occasions. at least it wasn't DQ, mkay?! compared to my previous behaviors and indulgences, i'm practically a new woman.

so i haven't cured my sweet cravings quite yet. and i still, every once in a while, find myself snacking when i probably don't need to be. but i know that, on day 31 and beyond, i'm going to plan my meals differently. i'm going to use different oils when i cook. i'm going to drink more water. i'm going to stop and ask myself before i indulge in sweet or salty goodness..."is this going to be worth it? like, really worth it? why do i want to eat this? will i enjoy it mindfully, or mindlessly?" i'll sometimes pass on the fancy starbucks drink, and get tea instead. i don't need to buy medium or large sizes anymore. smalls will do just fine. fast food doesn't have to be an option if i choose to never let it be one. i'll think about the way different foods make me feel. i'll drink fluids with my meals, so i don't feel the need to stuff myself with more food.

as the 30 days come to a close, i'm not exactly looking forward to the process of reintroducing grains, dairy, etc. back into my diet. not because i don't want them (believe me, i do) but because it has to be a gradual process, to find out how those foods affect me. i'm going to start with grains/gluten for a few days, then go onto dairy, and on from there. honestly, a part of me is going to be kind of disappointed if i don't identify something that negatively impacts my digestion, because i want to figure out the souce or my stomach problems. we'll have to see how this next week or two goes.

in the mean time, i'll be praying that dairy and i can continue our relationship. because i'm not ready to break up with cheese or ice cream. i'm just not.

(sorry for the lack of photos. seriously wishing i would have documented all of the yummy things we ate this past month.)

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