Tuesday, 9 October 2012


I'm half way to completing my Whole30 and I'm feeling great! 

After the first week of my Whole30, I already felt that I had more energy. This was most noticeable in the afternoon, when I used to get tired and have cravings for sugar/caffeine/both. Now, I seem to coast through the afternoon without any exhaustion, light-headedness,  irritability, or cravings. 

I've also noticed a change in my energy level first thing in the morning. For a long time now, I've been strict to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night. I felt that this was especially important once I started to have these afternoon fits of exhaustion. But even then, with 8 hours of sleep, I was still exhausted by 3pm. Since starting my Whole30, I not only have more energy in the afternoon but also first thing in the morning. I don't feel sluggish in the morning, but rather, well-rested and energetic.

Could it be the change in diet?

While I'm enjoying the positive effects that this change in diet appears to be having on me, I am anxious to reintroduce certain foods to see if whether or not they trigger any symptoms. This brings me to my first Whole30 confession: the slip ups. You might call them cheats, I call them unavoidables-for-the-sake-of-loved-ones. 

Having been (Canadian) Thanksgiving this past weekend, you can understand the difficulty in participating in something like the Whole30 while attending a family dinner or other social function (where there's an array of delicious foods to eat!). Every year for Thanksgiving, R and I go to his parents' for dinner. R's dad is an amazing cook, his food always flavourful and full of fat. Yes, fat. He loves to cook with butter, which I wouldn't usually be opposed to (it's better butter than margarine, right?) but when I'm supposed to have eliminated dairy as part of the Whole30, this gets a bit tricky.

No, I did not request that my meal be cooked separately, nor did I pack my own food. Instead, I enjoyed the little bit of butter that dressed my brussel sprouts and savoured the gravy (which most likely had cornstarch, another Whole30 no-no) that sat upon my perfectly cooked turkey. I avoided the mashed potatoes all together and politely turned down the gluten-free baguette (another family member is celiac), and instead of pie for dessert, I opted for mulled apple cider (the perfect combination of just apple and spices).

And, how'd I feel? Well, to be frank, a little bloated. Okay, a lot bloated. I'm not sure if it was the richness of the vegetables (ahem, butter), but I definitely felt a little uncomfortable as the evening lingered on. That said, the meal was delicious and I don't regret a thing. I'm only half way through the Whole30 challenge, and I've learned a great deal about my body and food, and that even when following a strict diet like this one, it's not the end of the world if you slip up or make a mistake. That said, I realize that the whole point of the Whole30 is to completely eliminate particular foods and food groups from the diet in order to "clear" our system of them and then slowly reintroduce them thereafter, but I don't think a bit of butter or a teaspoon of sugar is any reason to call it quits.

Regardless of your dietary and/or health needs, the important part about falling off the wagon is that you get back on.

How about for eating out at restaurants? Sure, you can request to have your salad dressing on the side, but do you know what ingredients are in that dressing? I went out for a lunch with a friend last week and ordered poached eggs with Rowe Farm sausages and salad. While it was pretty obvious that they had used something sugary to sweeten the salad dressing, how do we know what ingredients are in the sausage? Even if the sausages are from a supplier whose products are antibiotic-free, hormone-free, and nitrate-free, this doesn't mean they're free from grains, dairy, or sugar. I don't actually know, but from my experience with cured meats, I'm sure that the sausages I ate have sugar in them. Sigh. Another slip up, you might say.

(for the record, I'm a huge supporter of Rowe Farm products)

Whether you're in the midst of completing the Whole30 or you're following a clean diet, or you're just trying to eat healthier in general, there's no point in beating yourself up about enjoying a swipe of butter (if you're avoiding dairy) or some sausage that just happens to contain a bit of sugar. No, I wouldn't have bought these sausages at the grocery store for as long as I'm participating in the Whole30, but when your options at a restaurant are limited, you have to work with what you've got.

It might as well be the holiday season, which means lots of social gatherings to come! This doesn't mean you have to sacrifice your health or your social life. Find a happy medium that works for you. And remember: if your veer off track, just get back up and try again!

We can't always control what goes into our food - at restaurants, dining at a friend's or family member's place, and even foods and food products from the grocery store. 

What approach do you take to ensuring that what you are eating meets your standards of nutrition and health?

image via celebrations at home and somewhere splendid

DISCLAIMER: I am not a nutritionist, physician, or any kind of health professional. Everything that you find on my blog is based on my own knowledge and opinion. If you require specific health and fitness advice, please seek a qualified health professional.

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