We decided to start off the New Year with a Whole 30, basically a paleo diet focusing on quality meats and lots of veggies and no grains, legumes, dairy or alcohol. Although coffee is allowed with the Whole30 we decided to minimize caffeine; we switched to decaf coffee and limited our tea drinking to herbal and green teas.
Why? We were already avoiding processed foods and home cooking most our meals, yet paleo enthusiasts claim that by removing grains we would feel even better. We wanted to test this out ourselves since we already were eating so healthy. Also I need to eat every 3 hours or so otherwise I start to feel light headed. If I didn’t eat pasta for a few days in a row I would start to feel depressed and grumpy. I’m curious if avoiding these foods will help me balance out my moods and minimize my snacking.
What were we eating before? We were already eating extremely healthy compared to the average American diet – we read all labels to avoid processed foods, ate only pasture raised meats, and ate a lot of vegetables. We rarely went out to eat and unless we carefully chose a restaurant that was close to our home cooked diet our bellys told us something was off. We read and followed much of what was discussed in Nourishing Traditions. We were only a couple of steps away from a paleo diet, but we still ate minimal amounts of pasta, rice, homemade bread, and unprocessed sugars. The pasta we ate contained nothing but flour (a lot of pastas have extra stuff added for some reason) and was usually whole wheat. The amount of pasta was minimal compared to the sauce, vegetables, and meat we were eating the pasta with. The homemade bread used quality flour from Bob’s Red Mill or Arthur’s and the sourdough was a starter that we created and let grow. Most of the sugars we ate were unprocessed (honey and maple syrup), but there was an occasional piece of chocolate or bottle of Mexican Coca-Cola. I’d argue that our consumption of pasta, bread and sugars was as healthy as it possibly could be, so I’m curious if we’ll notice a difference.
What have we been eating? I’ve been eating a lot of eggs, 4 a morning, usually with kale, red pepper and chorizo. This is going to have a change; we buy pasture eggs meaning they cost over $5.00 a dozen. After some quick math we calculated that we would spend $50 just on my egg consumption for the rest of the month. This doesn’t really help with budgeting and keeping our grocery bill low. I’m implementing a new breakfast plan this week where I’ll switch to 2 eggs, some fruit, some sausage, and some sweet potato. For lunch we have been eating more than before; usually a salad with a protein plus leftovers from the night before. Finally for dinner we have been making a lot of meals from Melissa Joulwan’s cookbook Well Fed and thus far have loved everything we made (cauliflower rice is a current favorite!). Daniel started making some homemade sauerkraut since fermented foods (besides sourdough bread) were something we were missing in our diet before.
What are our goals? My goal is to see if my energy level and mood stabilize by removing grains. I’ve never been one to track my weight or waist size and I know Whole30 says that losing weight shouldn’t be a goal of the program, but we decided to track our weight and waist/hip sizes just to see if the diet makes a difference one way or another. My goal isn’t to gain or lose weight or inches but to see if there is a noticeable difference.
What’s so hard about this? The food I miss the most so far is dairy. Morning coffee doesn’t taste as good without some milk added to it and I absolutely love cheese. I miss the creamy texture that milk and cheese add to foods. I’m also having a bit of a hard time with breakfast; I was a huge muesli fan before starting the diet. Daniel said that he misses sugar the most. I have to say that I ate a whole grapefruit this morning and it tasted pretty darn sweet to me. I guess my sweet tooth is adjusting to a lack of sugar. The other concern we have is sticking to our monthly food budget but we have been trying to buy produce that is on sale or less expensive at the grocery store and we will be minimizing my egg consumption. The final challenge is figuring out what to eat when traveling for work; I will be going to Redlands, CA for 3 days with a few coworkers and will need to find Whole30 approved foods when we go out to eat.
Our experiment lasts until February 1st. Check back for a summary of our results after that.