Why Whole30? (It’s not because I hate myself.)
Let’s be honest with each other for a moment: I’m only doing Whole30 because my therapist told me to.
I’m not doing it to lose weight (although that would be nice). I’m not doing it to “eat clean” (I have serious doubts about GMOs). I’m doing it because I want to be stronger than a McDonald’s cheeseburger.
Somewhere between my birth and the day I pre-gamed a Mary Chapin Carpenter concert with my parents, I realized I have a problem with food and booze. (The concert was at one of the country’s premier performing arts centers, and I was the only one under age 40, so maybe not a great place to be drunk.)
On paper, this should not be a thing. I graduated college with honors, I have a great job, I am in a healthy relationship, I have wonderful family support, and yet, when I pass a Sonic Drive-in, I am at serious risk of totaling my car in a last-second U-turn.
When I explained all of this to my therapist, who is truly one of the most wonderful women on the planet, she uttered seven words I did NOT want to hear: “Have you heard about the Whole30?”
If you’re not familiar, the gist of Whole30 is giving up gluten, sugar, dairy and alcohol (ALCOHOL!) for 30 days. After 30 days, you slowly re-introduce those items, hopefully learning a lot about what foods mess with your system.
But in addition to all that, it just kinda sucks.
My therapist, however, had just completed her own Whole30, plus a 100-mile walk across the Camino de Santiago, so kinda hard to say no to that.
So here I am, at age 25, throwing out my boxed wine (more on that later) and looking up the definition of “soy lechitin.” (Spoiler alert: it’s not approved. And it is in everything.)
If you’re a Whole30 skeptic (like I am), I’ll just say a few things up front:
- I don’t love how marketing-heavy this program is. Between the books and the blog, the creators are making a LOT of money off of it. There are also much more qualified people out there to tell you how to eat (like doctors).
- That being said, I need rules, and Whole30 is lousy with them. I’m one of those people who wakes up and says “I’m going to try to eat healthier,” and 90 minutes later is in a Dunkin’ Donuts drive-thru. So for me, structure is good.
- And finally, I simply refuse to follow a couple of the rules. I love hummus, and hummus is decently good for you, so hummus and I are going to stay a couple. Same thing with edamame. So maybe I won’t have a “perfect” Whole30, but before this my diet has consisted primarily of happy hours and frozen pizzas, so this is definitely an improvement.
Coming up tomorrow: How it feels to throw out literally everything in your fridge. (Hint: You will have a panic attack.)