So yesterday marked the halfway point in the Whole 30. Also coincidentally, the 2 year anniversary of us “trying” Paleo. When it comes to the Whole 30, I swear my opinion changes daily – heck sometimes hourly. But it always generally circles back to “I’m so glad we are doing this.” Of course Garrett and I don’t always feel the same way at the same time, so it has definitely made for continuous conversation.
I really can’t underscore how good it feels physically to focus on eating foods that make you healthier. And feeling good begets more healthy eating for me. When I have tons of energy and zero cravings, it’s so much easier to say no office treats and frappucinos on hot days, you know? It boils down to this: making healthy food choices is just SO MUCH EASIER when I’m not eating sugar or marginal foods. It’s harder when I’m not. I enjoy life being easy. The end.
This sounds like a tiny thing and a HELLO HOLLY THIS ISN’T ROCKET SCIENCE MOMENT but it is really enormous actually, and I am a person who needs physical proof to stay motivated. Stable blood sugar, zero cravings, constantly feeling satiated, never needing to snack: all of that is pretty damn awesome when you look at the big picture.
But life is not only about the big picture. There are lots of little micro moments. While I’m still getting really creative in the kitchen, my passion is feeling a little bit confined by the limits of the Whole 30. I was inspired to try a new recipe for pancakes the other day with completely Paleo ingredients, but then I remembered “Oh, I’m not supposed to be Paleo-ifying junk food.” Right.
On these crazy hot nights I’ve been really wanting to mix up some frozen banana berry ice cream, but running up against the same limits. I don’t really have a particularly alarming “psychological response” to pancakes or fruit-based ice cream, and I know this is the concern and the reasoning behind not paleo-ifying junk food, but I’m still feeling annoyed about those limits. I don’t like how that feels. YOU’RE NOT THE BOSS OF ME, WHOLE 30.
Also, while I totally love cooking at home — LOVE IT — I miss socializing freely, and can you believe that this sentiment has nothing to do with the booze anymore? I can hardly believe it. The halfway point is where my desire for a GOD DAMN GLASS OF WINE completely dissipated. I’ll have it when I have it. Whatever. Self-control, regained in two weeks or less. There you have it.
HOWEVER. Every time we get a social invitation lately I look to the calendar with panic. Will we still be doing this Whole 30? Will we be able to find something to eat? Should I just turn it down? Should I push it back to September? And I reeeeeeeeeeeeally don’t like living my life like that. Socializing and seeing friends and family is an important part of my life. And it should be fun and really have nothing to do with food panic. So that’s definitely where some of the negative feelings come from.
What I’m Learning
Ultimately though, it is making me feel super grateful for how flexible our regular lifestyle is. Two years into this paleo gig, I have found sticking to a regular paleo framework is not difficult at all. Like AT ALL. Man it’s amazing to actually think how far we’ve come and how many changes we’ve made in such a short amount of time. Living a normal life where I feel fantastic yet also get socialize and indulge in rituals that really do make me happy (my weekend wine) are really awesome. I’m so happy we made the switch! But getting super strict for the past two weeks has me really look forward to getting back to the old normal.
One of the main reasons I’m looking forward to the old normal is because thus far for the amount of thinking about food and talking about what I am eating, and meticulously monitoring ingredients — I don’t feel that drastically from when I’m staying within the normal paleo framework. Sure I feel better than when we are attending food truck festivals and going out of town every weekend and boozing, and eating mexican food more than once per month — but that’s not my “regular life.” And recalibrating will be worth it, as ugly as it feels at times.
But I have actually found some great takeaways and improvements from this experiment already, and these alone make it worth it:
1) I depend on cheese because I’m lazy and it’s yummy. But the truth is, I haven’t really missed it. I will absolutely go back to eating good cheese by itself (mmmm, triple cream mushroom cheese and stilton!) and I will never give up the occasional gorgonzola. But I don’t need cheese in every salad I make or on all my burgers or in all of my egg dishes. So hey, win!
2) Fermented foods are pretty easy to incorporate into my life. They really kind of scared me before, but man there is such an availability of high quality stuff where I live. That has LITERALLY spiced up my food life! I would not have even explored that if it weren’t for my need to find new burger toppings to replace my cheese.
3) Fruit is a completely awesome and satisfying dessert. When you make sure the house isn’t filled with dark chocolate, coconut milk ice cream and chocolate chips. For me, keeping that kind of food in the house just makes me lazy. I LOVE coconut milk ice cream, but honestly it’s not any better than the freaking amazing plums and apricots we’ve been eating. I promise. But you know I’ll pick the ice cream every time. So I’m going to try and keep that stuff as treats only. Whole Foods is 2 minutes from my house in case of emergency, no need to just “have some chocolate chips on hand just in case.”
4) Sleep continues to be an area that I need to focus on. But hot damn, that is a pretty fun goal to work on! And keeping working on it I will.
So I’m continuing to chug away at this 30 days. There are times when I am so happy that my body feels fueled and satisfied with such simple, delicious food! But my environments have to be so controlled and that limits my life. Also, I really, really, REALLY do not want food to be taking up so much space in my mind.
Enjoyment of your life is just as important as fueling your body in a healthful way. The two have definitely overlapped some in the last two weeks, but not enough for me to be fully satisfied. But that is the cool thing about this: IT’S ONLY 30 DAYS. And I can do anything for 30 days. I’m hoping the next 15 days open up that venn diagram overlap area even more. And if not, I will certainly have such an awesome appreciation for my regular life, and more importantly for how far I have come in the last two years. Heck, the slope is all downhill from here!