A 30-day food ADVENTURE

18 Apr

Let’s not call this a food challenge—that sounds too…challenging, and rife with potential for disappointment.  I’m thinking of this Whole30 thing as an eating adventure, brimming with possibility.

[[MORE]]So what is?  The Whole30 is a slightly stricter version of the paleo diet (which, wouldn’t you know—has a post on its homepage of someone with colitis who’s no longer taking the same medication I take after 6 weeks of doing paleo).  A paleo eater is giving up all refined sugars, grains, legumes, and dairy.  Whole30 throws in alcohol as well (although paleo allows red wine on occasion).  Whoa, nelly!  If you think about what you grab for lunch, or what you eat at a restaurant, it’s basically all of the above.  And it’s so bad for you!  But I’ll confess, I’ve been feeling really good (and eating just about everything in sight) for the last year and a half, so I had no need to try this.  But once my ulcerative colitis symptoms kick in again (and they’re too unpleasant to name individually, just trust me—they’re no fun), they’re hard to calm down.  

So—radical changes in health = radical changes in approach.  Hence the Whole30.

It’s funny—I’ve heard about people doing this diet before, and in fact last month got an email from my naturopath (who I saw when I was so sick in 2010 and helped me get into remission) extolling the virtues of paleo.  But when I read it, I immediately thought “Oh, whatever—who has time for that?” and moved on.  But when circumstances change, so can your thinking, and I thought maybe it was time to reconsider.  I’ve attempted doing a grain-free, sugar-free diet years ago called the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD), but the thought of committing to it for a lifetime was just overwhelming to me.  I started doing a version of paleo a year ago on the recommendation of my naturopath but gave it up after a week.  But now the thought of doing this for 30 days seems manageable to me, and maybe it’s just timing.  I think.  I hope!

I spent a lot of yesterday researching recipes, and I think I’ve found a good selection of sites and recipes:

The biggest challenge with paleo is in the planning—you don’t want to get caught stuck without food.  A hungry Erin makes poor food decisions (to paraphrase my friend Ted).  Another challenge is not getting overwhelmed by too many choices (which I guess is a good problem to have).  I need to try a few things and stick to a plan, and then it’ll get easier.  It’s only 4 weeks.  
But undoubtedly the biggest challenge (adventure!) is in the timing.  I’m single, and relatively social.  There are barbecues, parties, trivia nights, trips home to see my parents, working an election for 14 hours with no access to a fridge or microwave, cooking classes, birthday dinners…you get the idea.  And that’s just in the next month.  So I could wait to do this…well, never.  I’ll always be busy.  I just need to jump in and get started.  I didn’t technically start Monday night, but I met some friends for trivia at a sports bar and successfully resisted the beer and french fries on everyone else’s plate (ok, I stole a potato from Lisa) while I ate my kobe beef burger.  By itself.  On a very large plate.  Sans bun and side.  I felt a little silly because for lunch i had hummus and whole wheat tortilla, but it was more of a “Could I do it?” thought than the food itself.  Could I not break down and order some girly martini, or a beer?  Could I resist a side order of waffle fries, my favorite burger BFF?  And then it became kind of a game—what else can I not eat?  Bring it on!  I went to a friend’s birthday dinner last Saturday, a friend who loves wine and where wine is a frequent topic of conversation, and was surrounded for the next 4 hours by wine/martini drinkers.  Honestly, it’s more habit than anything.  I’m so used to having a drink because someone offers one and it seems like a good idea.  I enjoy drinking, but I don’t revolve my life around it.  The habit, though—the mental part was almost worse than the physical desire for it.  It’s so easy to drink when everyone is drinking, and you have such happy associations of social outings when friends are drinking.  So hey, I already showed willpower twice this week—for me, that’s impressive!

I decided just to jump into this thing today, so I went shopping yesterday at Healthy Home Market and Bi-Lo to get some supplies.  By the time I got home it was 7pm, and frankly I was kind of out of the mood to cook!  But if I wanted to eat tomorrow, I had to start cooking, and so I did.  I bought enough things to make 3-4 different recipes, but I only had the energy for one—Elana’s Thai Vegetable Soup.  I poached 4 chicken breasts (I’m making a different Elana recipe tonight, her Mexican Chicken and “Rice”) and added some shredded chicken to the soup to make it heartier.  It was quite tasty, and should last me a few more days.  This morning I woke up to make a veggie omelette that ended up tasting pretty good, and kept me full until…well, right about now.  Where’s lunch?!?

So it’s April 18, Day One.  Let’s do this thing.


One Response to “A 30-day food ADVENTURE”


  1. The Promise of Radiant Health « Breath by Breath - July 19, 2012

    […] and run trial and error experiments (n=1) by incorporating yoga retreats, acupuncture, probiotics, paleo diets, prayer…what else have you got?  I’ve tried it or I will try it.  I refuse to give up […]

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