I recently finished 30 days of eating nothing but good quality meats (pastured animals treated appropriately and humanely), mostly organic vegetables and fruits, good fats and drinking delicious bone broth, which was super easy to make in a crock pot. And that was great because at first making bone broth seemed like a really big pain in the butt. I’ll talk about the physical benefits here soon, but for me the emotional and spiritual benefits outweighed everything else. I can say these are the things I learned and am still learning. To eat mindfully thanking the earth and the beautiful animals for feeding me. Holding that reverence for the life given to feed me really was something else. And it somehow comforts me to know that in a way animals eat us too as our bodies die and go into the earth. This brought an awesome feeling of gratitude. I learned to eat without an iphone or Mac in front of me (this was super tough, cause oh there’s so much you could get done while eating…like email for example). I’m still working on this one. And I realize this won’t be possible all the time. There was also an awesome feeling of control that for me brought peace. And it was as simple as not having to eat a not so good food option at a gathering, or my familiar piece of chocolate after dinner. These things appear small, but for me they were big because it wasn’t really about the food. It was about the fact that I could be determined enough to not eat what wasn’t going to be the best option for me. I decided it and because I decided it, that was it. And there were even times where I didn’t even want the less than good food option. For me that was big because I have fallen into that trap and even though it doesn’t happen often, I hate it when it does IF I’m not prepared. Meaning I had not decided in advance that I was going to enjoy this certain food. I know some people say not to plan eating something “less than good”, but I find that for me it helps. I’m just like any other person, and if it’s a special occasion or a favorite treat for example, I’m going to eat it and enjoy every bite of it. Yes I eat with taste AND nutrition in mind most of the time, but I understand that flexibility and balance is key. Which brings me to my next point. In the beginning of the plan I was very strict, but then 2 weeks in I realized it was somehow becoming another stressor. That was a sign to back off some. So I did. For me that meant eating white potatoes. Not a big deal you may think, but not easy when you have a driven brain and you think we’ll if I’m going to do this, I’m going to do this right J And yes white potatoes don’t offer much for nutrition but I’m pretty sure they were mainly out to keep people from eating potato chips and French fries, which I wasn’t going to do.
As far as physical benefits, definitely less bloating, way more energy (leading to a more clear and alert mind), lost the 3-4pm slump feeling like I need a nap or a strong espresso (my blood sugar levels are way more even, so my energy remains even throughout the day instead of experiencing major energy drops….grains and gluten tend to mess with your blood sugar levels and therefore your energy), looser fitting clothes and way less inflammation in my tricky knee. The knee swelling was huge. Before I took out a lot of grains and gluten my knee would stay swelled for 2 weeks if I over did it, now it’s maybe 2 days. That has been amazing. I also noticed much better skin. I actually had a funny patch of rough skin on my leg for years that always itched and had calloused from so much scratching. Then one day it itched and I could feel the scratching again! The callous had disappeared. My husband and many people I know have had very similar benefits. I should tell you that I have been eating most of the time this way for the past 6 years but I wanted to step up the game for 30 days. So I’ve been enjoying these benefits for a long time now.
This program is called Whole 30 and it was created by a fantastic organization called Whole 9 Life. The 9 stands for 9 very important areas of your life for actual well-being. They are: food, sleep, exercise (whatever that is to you for wherever you are in your life), stress management, socialization with people important to you, being in nature, personal growth, fun & play and temperance. And they go in this order of importance.
Here’s where I get really vulnerable. Notice it’s only a paragraph long! Baby steps, people. This was my second Whole 30, 1st one was a couple of years ago and it was then when I learned to stop counting calories, (something I had been doing for years) and mainly focus on the quality of the food. The way I began to see it was if what I am eating is making me healthier, then numbers don’t matter, my body will respond accordingly in a good way. That was tough for me, but later as I trusted this process and let go of some ideas that weren’t serving me, such as making sure I was able to fit into these super tight awesome jeans I had, it became freeing. Was I able to fit into those jeans again? Not sure…didn’t really ever try again. I probably wouldn’t, but I didn’t want that to be the focus, just wasn’t worth the stress and obsessiveness with counting everything you put in your mouth. Quality over Quantity was my choice. And today well, I choose to be happy with how I look, regardless of what message society/culture tries to send my way.