Thursday, February 13

Featured Whole30'er: Ian

Why did you decide to do Whole30?

Because I like a challenge!  And it was becoming apparent that if I didn’t, I would be the only member of my small group to have NOT done it.  But seriously, for several reasons:

I've always been healthy and in good shape. Not the healthiest or the best shape, but passable. I still wear jeans that I bought when I was 20. But even with consistent running, weight training, and avoiding soda or junk food, I had hit a plateau that I couldn't get past.

I wanted to try new foods. I like leafy greens and raw vegetables, but I don’t eat cooked veggies very often.  One of my goals was to branch out, try new things, and get over my long-held aversion to foods like onions, broccoli, and mushrooms.

My fiancé agreed to do this with me.  We wanted to learn more meal and recipe ideas that we could make together.  Having a Whole 30 partner to be accountable to helped immensely.

What has been the hardest part?

Explaining the program is tough.  I tried to refrain from calling it a “diet”, but that was difficult.  My answer became “it’s whole fruits, vegetables, meat, and nuts.  Very similar to Paleo”. My fiancé didn't want to make people feel uncomfortable by our choices, but I have no problem if I exude arrogance for something like this. After all, it started a lot of good conversations.

The hardest part was an emergency trip to Toronto for a funeral.  The trip occurred on days 5 and 6.  We were prepared to eject and just start over when we returned, but I already felt pot-committed, even after just 4 days.  It required a lot of creativity and a lot of saying “no thanks”, but we did it.

One of my hobbies is drinking craft beer.  My last beer on New Year’s Eve before starting Whole 30 prep was a Bourbon Barrel Aged Lakewood Temptress.   It was difficult abstaining from a delicious pale ale, IPA, or imperial stout.   I will go back to craft beer, but luckily I’d already started to adjust my drinking to one or two good quality beers a week rather than wasting my palate on Miller Lite.

Shopping at Whole Foods during Whole30 was such a tease too.  Have you seen their beer selection?
/end craft beer rant

What has been the easiest part?

Two of my favorite foods are salsa and mustard.  Both of these items can be found Whole 30-compliant without much variation.  It was comforting to know I could still eat salsa, but with carrots or plantain chips instead, and spicy brown mustard, but on a lettuce wrap instead of a sourdough sandwich. 

I drink a lot of water. I probably refill my work mug about 6 times daily. Drinking only water (aside from morning coffee and occasionally tea or coconut water) was not a big change for me. Infusing water with fruit is a solution for some people, but it wasn't a necessary addition during my 30 days.

What has been the best part?

I learned how to cook with variety, and how to shop in the fruit and vegetable section of the grocery store for more than just apples.  Some examples of foods I tried and loved:  butternut squash, spaghetti squash, Swiss chard, buffalo meat, cooked spinach.

I have made food decisions this month that will not end with Whole30’s completion. I've rid myself of putting sugar or Splenda in my coffee. I pay attention to the ingredients list of anything I buy.  And I discovered Larabars, which will replace a number of quick snack food fall-backs that I used to rely upon.

My pre-Whole30 premonition was that I would crave bread. For me, sandwiches on wheat bread with deli meat, pickles, mustard, and mayo probably constituted 50% of meals during a typical week. But the good news is during the 30 days, my craving for a nice sub sandwich slowly dissipated. I no longer have the craving! And I found healthier ways to eat tuna or prosciutto.

Any recommendations for future Whole30'ers?

Do this with a friend!  It’s great to have an accountability partner, plus so many recipes make enough for 2 people.  It was great to share the experience with my fiancé and to hear about the different challenges presented to us while apart during the workday.

Take more pre-Whole30 measurements than just weight.  Measure yourself before and after to see a change in inches around the waist, thighs, neck, etc.  Awhile back, I bought a scale that calculates body fat percentage, bone weight, and muscle percentage.  I don’t know how accurate it is, but it was helpful to have a consistent measuring tool for before and after.

And finally, enjoy eating!  Food is so integrated into the fabric of people’s lives that there is no reason to sacrifice great taste and satisfaction for 30 days.  It may be different than what you’re used to, but it’s different in a positive, life-changing way, I promise.

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