After three joyous weeks overindulging with my family I feel I need a break from the wine. I’ve never committed to a prolonged period without drinking before as I’ve simply never wanted to. Today, however, I am actually excited to try. More than anything I am curious to see how it leaves me feeling. For me, abstaining from wine will take more willpower than abstaining from anything else. So, I’ve decided to cast my usual 80/20 rule aside and go 100% healthy for 30 days. Inspired by blogger Naturally Leah (an interview with her coming soon), I’m going to test this out through a Whole30 programme.
What is Whole30?
The concept of Whole30 was designed by nutritionists Dallas and Melissa Hartwig, and is fully outlined in their book It Starts with Food*.
The key intent behind the programme is that food should be nourishment. It should be delicious and carefully prepared, but it shouldn’t be something that you look to for emotional fulfillment.
To move towards a healthier body and better relationship with food you start with a 30 day “clean” period, the Whole30. In this 30 days any food that you consume should follow the below 4 food standards:
- The food should promote a healthy psychological response
- The food should promote a healthy hormonal response
- The food should support a healthy digestive system
- The food should support a healthy immune function
So What do you Eat on Whole30?
The Whole30 website gives the full details of what food does and does not follow the above four standards but in summary it involves:
- No dairy
- No grains or pseudograins (like quinoa)
- No sugar or sugar substitutes (which means that you need to read every single food label)
- No legumes
- No alcohol – even in cooking
This means no cheese, milk, yoghurt, bread, pasta, rice, oats, chickpeas, lentils, corn, peanuts or quinoa – among other things. That essentially leaves you with fresh veggies, fruit, meat, fish and nuts. Potatoes, both sweet and regular, are allowed, as is any kind of vinegar (even wine vinegar). Coffee, thankfully, is also allowed.
This seems quite restrictive, and I’m sure it will be a challenge. I’m looking forward to it. I will be testing and perfecting meal ideas and will share the best ones on here.
Please don’t tell us this program is hard. Quitting heroin is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Birthing a baby is hard. Drinking your coffee black . Is . Not. Hard. – It Starts With Food, Dallas and Melissa Hartwig
Why Would you do This?
It’s been really interesting to see how people react when I tell them that I am following this programme. The first reaction of most people is to ask if I want to lose weight, instantly equating a focus on food with a focus on body image. Whole30 isn’t a weight loss programme. I am not looking to lose weight.
You won’t be weighing, measuring, or tracking your calories at all. We think those are all unnatural, unsustainable, psychologically unhealthy processes that take the joy out of food and eating. – It Starts With Food, Dallas and Melissa Hartwig
What I’m really keen to see if whether any of this actually makes a difference to how I feel. Sure, after a lot of over indulgence I feel terrible, and when being more conscious of what I eat I feel better. However does completely abstaining from alcohol make me feel a whole lot better, brighter and more energetic than having the odd glass of wine when otherwise eating healthily? Does completely cutting dairy out really make a difference? These are some of the questions that I’m looking to explore through this experiment. Some people swear by cutting out certain things from their diet, but each and every one of us is different, what works for others won’t necessarily work for me.
Here is the baseline of how I feel pre Whole30 following three weeks of wine, cocktails, dessert and general (thought very, very lovely) over indulgence:
Puffy dry eyes
Sore, acidic feeling in my stomach
Bloated each time I eat
Not often hungry
Ready, set, let’s go!
* Disclaimer: This link is an affiliate link. If you buy the book after clicking it then I will get a small amount of Amazon credit.