Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Whole 30: Why I'm Going for It

I'm gearing up to do my very first Whole30 this September, starting on the 5th for the official #SeptemberWhole30 because I like my external accountability and hard things are always better done together. It's taken me MONTHS to gather the courage to try this, and I've done a lot of thinking about why I should do a Whole30. I've decided it's right for me and I'll be keeping ya'll updated on Wednesdays in September about how my first Whole30 is going!


What is Whole30?

Whole30 is basically an intense one-month food cleanse on a stricter version of the Paleo diet. For 30 days you must restrict your eating to only "clean" foods: meats, vegetables, fruits, and fats. NO processed foods, grains (including corn and rice), dairy, legumes (including soy), alcohol, or any added sugar. The point of this restriction is to cut out problem foods, that is, foods which commonly cause inflammation, allergies, and poor digestion, and then reintroduce them one by one at the end of the month to see which foods may be bothering you or making you feel cruddy. The benefits: people say they lose weight, sleep better, and have loads more energy at the end of the Whole30, as well as a much better perspective on and relationship with food.


Why I'm Doing Whole30

1. I'm convinced I have dairy, grain, and sugar intolerance/addictions
Terrible bloating, gas, stomachaches, heartburn, you name it, I got it. Maybe I have Crones, or maybe I just eat too much bread on a daily basis. I've always wanted to eliminate these things from my diet to see how I feel, but I've always been scared to... what if it IS grains? No more toast every day, or sandwiches? The thought of it makes me feel faint. I don't think I could live a bread-free life... but after Whole30, at least I'll get some perspective on how these foods really are making me feel, and my hope is that my favorite foods will become special, occasional treats and not all-day binges.

2. I'm convicted about our food practices in this country
Industrialized agriculture has made fast, cheap food the new norm; that is, food with a bunch of additives or food that is not considered "real" or "whole" food (chips, crackers, cookies, soda, etc) is easier to access and easier to afford, especially under food stamp programs in this country. This affects us globally; industrialized agriculture has forced multitudes to urbanize, has lost thousands of farmers their jobs, and has made the quality of our foods much poorer. Whole30 promotes shopping locally for food that has been ethically raised or grown, a practice I continue to strive towards, and something I can hold to for at least a month. It's expensive, but I think we have lost touch with how much growing actual food really costs.*

3. I could use some hard, fast rules about my food for a few days
I've discovered abundant joy in the routine of liturgy and in creating firm boundaries for myself and my relationships, so why shouldn't I set some time aside to bring my relationship with food under some control? I'm not much of a dessert junkie, but I will definitely eat an entire wedge of brie and a baguette all by myself for dinner on nights I don't feel like cooking. And 2+ bowls of milk and cereal were a typical "snack" for me growing up. I am a bread-aholic, and I'm ready to quit cold-turkey (for now). Regarding my personality type as an all-or-nothing kind of person, this system with a clear set of rules and boundaries would be MUCH easier for me than to try to make gradual healthier choices. Whole 30 is not for everyone, but it is very appealing to me and if I want to try to take better care of myself in the long run I see no problem going the whole 9 yards for 30 days.

Wanna know more about Whole30?
Follow my Pinterest board to get started down the rabbit hole of Whole30 science, recipes, and inspiration!

Have you tried your own Whole30? How did it go for you? Do you want to try it? Why or why not? There is a WholeLOT of controversy surrounding this diet fad (see what I did there?)... I would love to hear your opinions!

See below for my diatribe on Whole30 + privilege

I'm actually really excited to give this a shot... here goes nothing!
♥ Ciara Kay

*I do want to be sensitive here. Whole30 is a pretty American/Western phenomenon, partly because our industrialized system of agriculture has wrecked havoc on the nutritional value of our staple foods (I highly recommend the Netflix series, Cooked, particularly the episode on bread, "Air"), thus prompting a move towards a humanely/ethically raised meat + vegetable diet. But, meat (especially humanely raised meat) is expensive, and so is organic, and food stamp dollars do not go far per calorie when it comes to shopping Paleo. Whole30 also excludes the world's staple foods: beans, rice, and bread.

So you could say Whole30 is only an option for the privileged. That's fine, I'm inclined to agree. While this is something we need to be aware of, this is not a good reason not to try to make better choices for yourself. I have for a long time skipped over better choices for myself because I would tell myself that some poor kid in Uganda (or even in my own neighborhood) didn't have the same opportunities and therefore who was I to take those opportunities! This is a terrible way to live (not to mention a leap in logic) and results in self-inflicted martyrdom, and nobody likes a self-inflicted martyr, especially a privileged one. Martyrs who are still living are useless anyway; unless you were burned at the stake, give up the act.

Here's a great article with some thoughts by D.L. Mayfield on this topic if you're interested in another opinion on guilt, solidarity with the poor, body image issues, and the complexity of the food system in this country.

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