What is healthy eating to you?
Is it counting calories, watching fat intake, maybe eating a salad every once in a while? Or are you more of a eat what you want and go to the gym hard type of person?
Whatever it is to you, I’ve been there. I’ve tried all of the above. But nothing felt right.
Although J and I stumbled on Whole30 as a way to find out what foods were bothering him, we have stuck to a mostly whole food diet even after our first Whole30 because of how it makes us feel. And also for me personally the logic behind eating whole unprocessed foods that humans have been designed to digest just makes sense. And the studies and nutrition experts all agree: A low carb, whole food diet is best not only for weight loss, but for your overall health. And to me that is eating healthy.
What is Whole30?
If you don’t know what Whole30 is, basically it is a type of diet created by Melissa Hartwig that’s basically a very restrictive version of a paleo or low carb diet. You focus on eating fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, eggs, nuts and seeds- things that would have been available for our primitive ancestors when they first walked the earth. You don’t eat anything processed – such as grains, legumes, dairy, alcohol or sugar. These are also things that are known to be irritants to our gut and digestion. Then, after 30 days, you slowly reintroduce these items one at a time to see how it makes you feel. It really is eye opening. Even if you don’t think you have any digestive issues.
It was hard the first time. But we learnt so much about our bodies and how the foods we eat effect us that I am now hooked on this style of eating.
Why it is so important to me
Unfortunately, as we get older our bodies just cant process the crap we put in it as well anymore. I used to be able to down a big mac, McChicken, fries and a drink in one sitting. Not sure why, but it made me proud to be able to eat all that. Now I eat a fast food meal and it feels like a rock sitting in my belly for at least half a day. It still tastes great. And on occasion, I will still eat fast food. But I do have to think twice about it. Aging sucks guys. And I’m not even that old.
I watched my diabetic grandmother’s brain start to go. In the span of a year, she went from perfectly lucid to basically a small child. Now my mother, who has type 2 diabetes is starting to show signs of that ‘brain fog’ that goes with insulin resistance in diabetes. I mean Alzheimer’s is called diabetes type 3 for a reason.It is terrifying to think that we are all destined to the same fate. If there was something you could do to prevent that from happening to you or your children or even delay it, wouldn’t you?
Food could be part of the answer.
At the end of the day if you eat Whole30, Paleo, low carb, or whatever you want to call it. It is just a way to cut the processed foods out of your diet. The thing I learnt by doing a Whole30 is how the food I ate has a direct and very strong impact on my body, mind, and energy levels. It also taught me to just start thinking about what I am putting into my body.
If you are told to put diesel fuel in your car, and you put in regular gas. What will happen to your vehicle? It seizes up and dies. It is the same thing with food and our bodies. Food is our fuel. Put in crap and you will feel like crap and eventually suffer medical issues because of it. Put in good stuff and you feel amazing and can help prevent some of the most common medical issues people have, including diabetes, high blood pressure, depression.
Of course our bodies are much more sophisticated than a car engine. Our livers are designed to filter out crap really well. But there does come a point when the body just can’t take it anymore. Our bodies can’t keep up with the bad stuff as it builds up, and something has to give.
So many of the things that we consider ‘inevitable’ diseases are all linked to years of poor nutritional habits: Diabetes, Alzheimers, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol. Don’t take my word for it, read Grain Brain, Genius Foods to learn more.
When you start looking at the labels and ingredients in your food and you start to think about how it is affecting you, you can make smart choices not only for yourself but your loved ones as well.
It has not been easy. I still love bread, rice, pasta. These are things I have grown up on. They have always been the base of every meal. It has been a huge paradigm shift for me and is still a work in progress. But when I minimize these things, the benefits are undeniable. My belly shrinks. I feel so much more energetic throughout the day, and I sleep better at night. That is why I try to eat paleo or low carb regularly, and once in a while will commit to a full Whole30.
Yes I loose some weight, it’s a nice perk. But honestly, once you get over the mental hurdle of ‘how will I survive without bread?’ it’s really not bad. The food is delicious. You will have more energy. You won’t get hungry as much, will eat less overall, and you might find other health issues start to disappear.
It is not easy. Some of my friends and family continue to make fun of me. I’m that weird one that is picky and eats funny foods. But if you really think about it, is eating something full of chemicals like monounsaturated canola oil, monoglycerides or dextrose really seem all that normal? – By the way, all those things are found in a typical box of pancake mix that I grew up eating as a child. Or is it better to eat pancakes made with real eggs, milk, and flour?
It continues to surprise me what manufacturers put into our foods. Just take a look at the ingredients list next time you buy anything in a package. Google a few items you don’t recognize. Just to see what they are. It is eye-opening.
You don’t need to Whole30 to see the benefits. I get that it is not for everyone. You have to be very disciplined and meal plan well to make it through the 30 days. But I do recommend trying to cut back on the processed foods and eating more low carb and whole foods. It makes such a difference.
I Whole30 because I feel better when I eat that way. And I am terrified of aging and the associated diseases that come with it. The longer I can keep them away the better. And if paying attention to my diet a little more will help me get there then, for me, it is worth the investment.
Have you ever tried to eat paleo or done a Whole30? Would you?