Have you ever heard of someone deciding to give up chocolate, cheese, yogurt, peanuts, beans, wheat bread, tortillas, bagels, donuts, oatmeal, granola, soda, ice cream and more for a full 30 days? They must be crazy right?! Well guess what, I decided to try it this year and my husband Logan even joined in! Call us crazy!
I’ve always tried to live a healthy lifestyle but oftentimes found myself not really knowing what “healthy” really was or meant. When we were first married instead of buying the pizza blast goldfish to munch on I’d go for the “whole grain” goldfish…so much better right…I thought so at least. I’ve always eaten wheat bread, but maybe not 100% whole wheat, my breakfast consisted of two pieces of toast and a glass of juice, OR some “healthy cereal” like Honey Bunches of Oats. I loved eating fruits and vegetables but mostly supplemented with granola bars and cheese crackers when I was on the go. I thought I was doing pretty good, but as I learned, researched, and practiced eating “real food” my mind was opened to a completely new world! I’m so grateful for the things I’ve learned over the years and I hope what I have to say will help YOU as well.
A year ago in November 2014 I felt like I needed to step up my game of “clean eating” so I started my own “healthy lifestyle” Instagram account (@shanell_for_real) mostly to keep myself on track and motivated to keep eating and living better and better. What I found was that there were SO many people who have done the exact same thing and they had so much to offer with tons of beautiful food ideas that inspired new ideas in my own mind. I would see so many gorgeous pictures of food, lots of new workout goals and plans that inspired me to get my act together even more.
On many of the Instagram feeds I followed I would see the hashtag “#whole30” or “#whole30approved”. What the heck was this hashtag all about? What is the Whole30 and why is everyone obsessed with it. I quickly found the answer as I scrolled through the Instagram hashtag feed and saw all the “real food” with wholesome, real ingredients. The pictures looked amazing and intrigued me to learn even more. I saw a post about a book called It Starts with Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig. My birthday was coming up so I asked for a special request that I get that book to learn more about this lifestyle. I’m SO glad I did!
It Starts with Food explains all the science behind what we eat, why we eat it, when we crave it, why we crave it and how to change it! It blew my mind how much sense it made! With every page I turned I would say, “Yeah! Duh! Oh, that makes so much sense! Oh, that’s why I always feel so tired mid afternoon!” It was very eye opening for me, really…it was a game changer.
Here’s the excerpt from the amazon page where you can order the book:
It Starts With Food outlines a clear, balanced, sustainable plan to change the way you eat forever—and transform your life in profound and unexpected ways. Your success story begins with the Whole30®, Dallas and Melissa Hartwig’s powerful 30-day nutritional reset.
Since 2009, their underground Whole30 program has quietly led tens of thousands of people to weight loss, enhanced quality of life, and a healthier relationship with food—accompanied by stunning improvements in sleep, energy levels, mood, and self-esteem. More significant, many people have reported the “magical” elimination of a variety of symptoms, diseases, and conditions in just 30 days.
- high cholesterol
- high blood pressure
- chronic fatigue
- sinus infections
- acid reflux
- celiac disease
- bipolar disorder
- Lyme disease
- multiple sclerosis
Now, Dallas and Melissa detail not just the “how” of the Whole30, but also the “why,” summarizing the science in a simple, accessible manner. It Starts With Food reveals how specific foods may be having negative effects on how you look, feel, and live—in ways that you’d never associate with your diet. More important, they outline their lifelong strategy for eating Good Food in one clear and detailed action plan designed to help you create a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, calm systemic inflammation, and put an end to unhealthy cravings, habits, and relationships with food.
Infused with the Hartwigs’ signature wit, tough love, and common sense, It Starts With Food is based on the latest scientific research and real-life experience, and includes testimonials, a detailed shopping guide, a meal-planning template, a Meal Map with creative, delicious recipes, and much more.
Don’t you think it’s worth a try?! I was really hesitant at first because, well mostly because I didn’t think I could give up all of the “yummy” food I’ve been so used to eating. I love bread and chocolate and brownies…how was I going to give that up for a full 30 days?! BUT after I read the book and understood the science behind it all, I felt like I NEEDED to try it. I needed to reset my body, especially my gut. I have had a lot of digestive problems in the past, so I thought if anything it could help me solve some of my unanswered gut questions. Why not? Right?
So, what are the basic rules you ask? What do you have to do to complete the Whole30 challenge?
The general rules consist of the following: (taken from the Rules and Regulations page on the Whole30 website)
- None of these:
- No added sugar or artificial sweeteners
- No alcohol
- No grains
- No legumes
- No dairy
2. No, you’re not allowed to recreate unhealthy treats in a “healthy” way like breads, cookies, and brownies. Your goal is to use good, wholesome ingredients to create delicious and exciting food to fuel your body and restart your system. It’s not your goal to trick your body into thinking that it’s still getting the same sugary rewards it used to.
- Bread-like products: bread, tortillas, biscuits, pizza crust, crepes, etc. made from alternative flours
- Breakfast treats: pancakes, muffins, bagels, waffles, cereal
- Baked treats: cake, cupcakes, cookies, brownies
- Junk foods: deep fried or commercially prepared potato chips or French fries, ice cream
- And this one recipe where eggs, date paste, and coconut milk are combined with prayers to create a thick, creamy concoction that can once again transform your undrinkable black coffee into sweet, dreamy caffeine.
3. You’re not allowed to weigh yourself or take your measurements throughout the program. You CAN however, weigh yourself and take measurements right before and right after the 30 days, but not DURING.
So for 30 days, we want you to focus on the changes in your health, in your mood, and in your relationship with food rather than how much you weigh.
They also give recommendations for success in the program and answer questions like, “Can I still have smoothies, what about vegetable oils, do I have to restart if I slip up ONE time, does everything have to be organic, and do I have to buy chickens so I can have approved eggs?! 😉 Head over to the link and give it a read. Both the “Whole30 Program Rules” article and the “Whole30 Rules and Recommendations” article are great resources for understanding the program in it’s fullest.
Although this is only my first time completing the Whole30 challenge I’m grateful for the things I’ve learned so far and how much it has already shaped my way of thinking about food. It really does “start with food.” Our nutrition: physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally starts with what we choose to fuel our bodies with. How we treat our bodies directly correlates with how well our bodies respond and treat us in return. Feed them what they need and they will, in return, supply the necessities of life. I truly have come to believe this.
I hope you’ll take some time to check out some of these articles and look into reading the book It Starts with Food so you can get a jumpstart on changing your life as well. It’s the best feeling to be happy and healthy, and that is what I wish for all of you!