Be-bopping down the Queensway in Ottawa last week, chit-chatting with my friend Patrice about food and how it makes us feel, she cheerfully asked, “So, would you like to do a Whole 30 in October?”
Now, Patrice has a way of making anything sound like a good idea. She exudes optimism and inspiration, so if she had said, “Hey, would you like to go kiss poisonous snakes at the zoo?” I might have agreed, because she’d somehow make it sound FUN.
And that’s how I ended up committing to a Whole 30 in October.
For those new to Whole 30, it’s 30 days without grains, sugar, dairy, beans/legumes, or alcohol. It’s meant to be an elimination diet of sorts, to get common food allergens out of your system and highlight any sensitivities when you reintroduce them to your diet after the 30 days. The purpose of this blog is not to extoll the virtues or lament the drawbacks of the Whole 30. You can Google “Whole 30” and find 13,800,000+ results (no kidding) of posts and articles on the topic.
I’m just here to let you know that I haven’t lost my mind.
What I hear most frequently when I mention Whole 30 is along the lines of:
- “I could never do that. I love cheese too much” (and I hear you, sisters).
- “Oh my god, what do you eat?!”
- “So, no nutrition then?!”
- “You’re going to be miserable!”
I can understand those reactions. They’re totally legit. From the common perspective, it’s easy to think that without beans, grains, or dairy, we’re going to starve, and without sugar and alcohol, we’ll lose the will to live anyway. I mean, what else is there?! Honestly, you don’t expect to live on nuts and berries, do you? Wine is a fruit, right?!
This is where Patrice comes into the story again. During our writing retreat earlier this month, Patrice had a rule. The four of us had to change our seating choices with every meal.
“It gives us all a different perspective,” she said as she admitted the teacher in her was coming out, “and that can be refreshing.”
The woman is brilliant.
Something as simple as changing your physical position in the room brought just enough zing to the experience to make it feel fresh, even if it was just moving a foot to the left or having a different person sitting next to you. Conversation flowed freely at every meal and the energy of the room was positive and uplifting (although this may have to share credit with the mimosas and wine that flowed liberally all weekend!).
So, after I went through the initial “I could never do that, I love cheese too much – oh my god, what am I going to eat – holy crap, what have I done?” moments, I began to ease into it. I began to see it from a different perspective. In essence, I changed my seating position in the room.
Instead of seeing it as deprivation, I began to see how fortunate I am to have so many ideas and options ahead of me. In the next 30 days, I will never be able to try all the new recipes I’ve discovered. In fact, with so many options, I am going to be hard pressed not to get the nutrition I need. As for being miserable, feeling great – as you do when you eat this way – is way more delicious than any cheese (and believe you me, I love me some cheese).
So, October is going to be a challenge. Can I live without wine? Without cheese? Without popcorn?! (Oh, the horror!!)
I’m sure I can. I’ve got Patrice by my side, along with her wonderful hubby, Pierre, and other friends who are joining us on this journey. I’ve also got this delicious new perspective that reminds me of how lucky I am to be be-bopping down this road, chit-chatting about food and how it makes us feel, asking questions like, “So, do you want to change your life for the better?”
And that’s how I ended up committing to better health in October.
If this interests you at all, please reach out and join us! We have a private Facebook group where we share tips, recipes, ideas, frustrations, and silly posts. We’d love to have you along on this journey to better health!