I'm Deenie, a creative writer, essayist, and copywriter. 

I'm Doing Whole30 and It Hasn't Killed Me Yet

I'm Doing Whole30 and It Hasn't Killed Me Yet

To be clear, when I say "I'm doing Whole30," I'm doing it...esque. 

See, the Whole30 people ARE NOT KIDDING AROUND. The philosophy is that you clear your body, gut, and mind of all potential inflammatories. You're not even allowed to eat quinoa or lentils...who can't eat lentils?! But it's true: We eat a lot of sugar and chemicals and other stuff that effects our hormones and our energy levels and all kinds of other processes that work to keep us alive and healthy. Per the Whole30 website:

Cut out all the psychologically unhealthy, hormone-unbalancing, gut-disrupting, inflammatory food groups for a full 30 days. Let your body heal and recover from whatever effects those foods may be causing. Push the “reset” button with your metabolism, systemic inflammation, and the downstream effects of the food choices you’ve been making. Learn once and for all how the foods you’ve been eating are actually affecting your day to day life, and your long term health.

I'm intrigued by our relationship with food. As a former dancer and active person, I love to feed my body clean, whole foods that give me energy and clarity. I love feeling good in my figure and I love to see the results of what happens when the foods I eat (or rather, don't eat) can impact my skin, my attitude, and my body. But as a passionate southern girl who grew up creating intimate bonds with people around the table, I also love a beautifully made meal--butter, cheese, dairy, bread and all.

So when a friend of mine decided to pick up Whole30 as a summertime kick starter, I couldn't help but join in. Solidarity in numbers, right? Most importantly, though, I knew I'd never be hungry (it's a high protein regimen) and I knew I could still eat delicious foods that I love (high-quality steak and a baked sweet potato with ghee and Maldon sea salt? Hell yes). 

But to address the "esque" part of all this... I'm looking for sustainability, here. I don't really believe in dieting (which is why you'll rarely see me use that word) and I don't believe in drastically changing my eating habits for a short period of time to lose a few pounds. I'm not looking for a quick fix.

In fact, before my wedding, when most women are dumping all carbs, booze, and sugars to squeeze into their dresses, I refused. I wanted to look like me, not some skeleton version of myself just to look at pictures in 10 years and think, "Aw, I was so hungry." I was mindful, yes, but I kept drinking my usual glass of wine, enjoyed the occasional pizza, and even opted for dessert from time to time.

I wanted to look like me on my wedding day, hips and all /photo by Love + Wolves Co.

I wanted to look like me on my wedding day, hips and all /photo by Love + Wolves Co.

With Whole30, I'm looking for a reset. A way to remind myself that yeah--when, for an extended period of time, I don't eat sugar and pass up that block of cheese I'd otherwise inhale--I feel really good. My skin looks freaking awesome. I am sleeping LIKE A ROCK. It's truly a testament to the power of food, a reminder that what we put in our bodies really does affect our mood and our emotions, which in turn effects our behavior.

But there's also the reality that, no...I don't want to give up cheese forever. I love pizza. So much. And even on this Whole30-esque journey I'm taking, I've had a few cheats. A glass of wine here, remnants of cheese on the restaurant burger I denied of its bun there. The Whole30 "people" would definitely chastise me for that, but again, I'm reaching for sustainability.

If you're thinking about trying Whole30 or a similar paleo regimen, I'd say do it. If for no other reason, it will bring to light your cravings, educate you on the foods and ingredients you put inside your body, and help you better understand the sustenance that can (or cannot) make you feel your best self, inside and out. Plus, by cooking almost every meal, I am saving a ton of cash.

Aside from the super-easy, anyone-can-do-this meals (sautéed kale, steaks, roasted chicken, and sweet potatoes), here are a few of my favorite recipes this far into my journey. 

My husband made this pulled pork for my in-laws last week (true BBQ connoisseurs), and it was freaking insanity-type good.

I modified this turkey burger recipe with no bun or cheese, instead using bib lettuce wraps with avocado slices. And instead of using Worcestershire sauce, I used Braggs Liquid Aminos.

My friends and I failed miserably at making these sweet potato tater tots last night, but in theory they look awesome.

However, I still made this bang-up homemade ketchup.

Made this butter chicken over the weekend, served over sautéed kale and it was fabulous.

This mashed cauliflower with garlic and these chicken tenders are next on my list of things to try!

Hard to go wrong with a great cut of meat.

Buffalo chicken meatballs, what?!

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