Last month I was catching up with one of my friends, it had been quite a while since we had a conversation. She was raving about The Whole 30, she had just finished it and loved the results. She went on and on about how her entire relationship with food had changed and she felt so much happier. Plus, she had lost some of the lingering baby weight that she was having a hard time getting rid of. It sounded great to me! I borrowed her book and quickly went to work looking for recipes that fall under it’s strict requirements.
For anyone who hasn’t done The Whole 30, you are basically cutting out food groups that can be inflammatory for some people. The foods that are completely off the table include: dairy, grains (including quinoa), sugar, legumes and soy. By cutting out these food groups you can determine if any of them upset your body. So you are basically left with a very nutrient dense high-protein diet. However, there is one sticking point. You can use flour replacements such as almond flour, but you can’t use it to make paleo pancakes or muffins or the like. Smoothies are also off-limits. They claim this is to help you change your relationship with food, and I found this to be the hardest part. Not because I love muffins and smoothies, but because as a busy mom I am often eating one handed and those healthy grab and go snacks are usually what keeps me going during the day. Even though I knew this was going to be a huge challenge for me, I agreed to it.
Here’s what I learned: I really don’t have any issues with the major food groups (thank goodness!), so this diet didn’t really improve my health much. However, it did really make me aware of all the added sugar that is in our foods. It was hard to find pasta sauce, nut butter or most packaged foods that didn’t have sugar snuck into the ingredients! I started making my own almond butter because I just couldn’t find one that didn’t have added sugar.
Since completing The Whole 30 I have gone back to my regular healthy diet, but I am much more careful about the products I purchase due to all the added sugar. I’ve been making a huge effort to decrease the amount of sugar we eat and I am finding it has made a huge impact in my daughter’s behavior for the better. She is sleeping better and is just much more pleasant to be around. This diet was hardly life changing for me, but it did help me kick the sugar habit and this has been so helpful for everyone in my home!