What if I told you I didn’t make (or eat) a batch of blondies for an entire month? What would you say if I casually mentioned that I also hadn’t eaten any cheese during the same time frame? Nor any soy OR corn products? Would you believe me? Had you been following my blog previously or happened upon it by accident, you’d most likely be skeptical–especially since happy food started with ice cream. Heck, had you asked me in March if my May menu would exclude these items, I’d have thought you were crazy. But over the month of May, Bryce and I consciously decided to do just that as we embarked on a life-changing, month-long, nutritional journey and digestive reset, otherwise known as the Whole30 Program.
How did we get there, you ask? Well, earlier this spring, Bryce stumbled upon the Whole30 Program somewhere on the Internet. Knowing him, he probably discovered it on one of his trips down a Buzzfeed rabbit hole. He pored over the details of the program and declared in early April that he was going to start this diet thing he found called the Whole30 on May 1. Piqued by his seemingly sudden interest in the program, I asked for more details. That’s when he told me the diet cut out all dairy, soy, grain, legume, and sugar products (real or artificial). No milk. No cereal. No peanuts or peanut butter. No alcohol. No soy sauce. No ice cream. No popcorn. No butter to put on the popcorn. You can perhaps see why I initially balked at the idea. All of these things are staples, right? I told him and myself there was no way I could do this. I mean, 99% of the time, my day started with a bowl of Fruity Pebbles and cup of coffee sweetened with cream and sugar. How could I manage an entire month when the only allowable part of my typical breakfast was the coffee–as long as I drank it black?
As I continued to contemplate joining Bryce on this adventure and he continued to read about the Whole30 Program, I became more open to the idea and he became more obsessed with the plan. Over the course of a couple of weeks, I went from a definite not-gonna-happen to a solid it’s-a-possibility to a resounding when-do-we-start? You might wonder what changed my mind, and actually a combination of factors led me to hop aboard the train.
- First and foremost, the enthusiasm and commitment with which Bryce talked about the program turned out to be quite contagious. Listen to him highlight all of the good things about Whole30 for twenty minutes, and I dare you not to want to start it yourself!
- Second, the more informed I became about the reasons behind the program, the more attractive it became. Sure, at first glance the program seems all about limiting your food options, but it really focuses more on what you can eat rather than what you can’t. Plus, by cutting out the types of foods that commonly cause all sorts of inflammation, Whole30 allows your digestive system to reboot–which is what forms the whole foundation of the program.
- Third, the potential benefits and countless testimonials (eventually) outweighed the daunting task of giving up cheese, bread, beer, and peanuts for just 30 days. Dallas Hartwig and Melissa Hartwig, the brains behind Whole30, convey in their books and on their website that when properly executed, the regimen can lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol, improve seasonal allergies, and even alleviate problems associated with chronic diseases. Add to that almost guaranteed weight loss while still eating lots of good food, joining Bryce on this trip seemed a no-brainer. It may even start to sound pretty enticing to you now…and that’s before you read more about the great things Whole30 can do for your body.
- Fourth, with school done for the summer, Bryce would have some time to prepare and cook many of the compliant foods we would need to make it through the month. That’s not to say I wasn’t interested in helping with meal preparation. I do love to cook and experiment, after all. But realizing ahead of time that staying on track would require a larger time commitment in the kitchen and that I’d still be working full time, we understood our success largely hinged on one of us having more time and energy to devote to the plan. No classes for Bryce to teach = better chance to keep the Whole30 train on track.
- Fifth, and perhaps most important of all, choosing not to do this together would have almost certainly derailed any individual attempt made by either Bryce or myself. We had to be a team to make the Whole30 program work in our house, and confronting a challenge like this would require continual commitment, patience, creativity, and support.
So, while I started the month of April thinking I’d never agree to this Whole30 nonsense, I ended the month excited (and more than a little scared) to start on this adventure. Come May 1, we were livin’ la vida Whole30.
But wait, there’ll be more! Coming up…Livin’ la vida Whole30 (Part 2), in which I recount our emotional ups and downs during May. Then, after that, Eatin’ la vida Whole30 will provide a rundown of the culinary hits and misses we created during our Whole30 experience. It’ll be all about the food!