It’s late at night and I’m thinking about the whole30. I’m thinking about my first whole30 and how I’m still seeking #FoodFreedomForever. And I really feel like I need to take some thoughts off my chest after seeing how much attention the programme has had over the month of January!
I did the whole30 back in September. It didn’t have a happy ending, but it did have lifelong positive consequences. My gut wasn’t happy, but my soul was, and I am so grateful for the experience. I’m also proud I lasted the 30 days without a slip. I know I won’t be doing the whole30 exactly as it is outlined again, but I know that applying the core principles was essential to my mental success the first time around.
But there’s stuff we’re not talking about enough in this community. I still stumble upon whole30ers who just want to “lose weight”. Who think it’s ok to eat almond butter by the spoonful because it’s compliant. Or worse, who stuff dates with almond butter and are cool with that.
No. Don’t be cool.
If these behaviours don’t seem like red flags to you, please don’t stop reading. You need this.
#1. it takes a while to get ready and figure out your boundaries
Wow, this week has gone by so fast. And successful in terms of non-scale victories. Like snacking. I like snacking, but I’m finally learning not to snack so much.
I’ve not been keeping track of my food so well (or taking photos of it!), but I’ll do my best to recall what I’ve been eating, making, tasting and maybe even smelling.
Breakfast is always the same. I’m really intending to change it up next week, which’ll be the final week of my Whole30. 2 fried eggs (in coconut oil), a slice or two of bacon, and some not-so-optional avocado. Yay. Lunch is pretty interesting. I attempt to make pork sausages out of minced pork, sage and mustard but they turn out to be incredibly wet. So I decide to hash them with some cauliflower rice instead of making patties and serve it over a black kale salad, with some sauerkraut and avocado. My dressing of choice remains the same; tahini, apple cider vinegar and some seasoning.
I don’t snack today. That is a major non-scale victory for me, because I’m normally itching to eat something in between meals. I did have a mandatory black coffee at some point, like evry day. Dinner is a simple roast chicken, with turmeric and cumin. It turns out amazing this week, really juicy and crispy-skinned, and I serve it with some potatoes, mashed with a little clarified butter.
It’s Sunday, two weeks into my very first Whole30. I feel like I’ve been on this for months already. I’m getting the hang of it, whilst simultaneously feeling like I am not experimenting enough in the kitchen. I know I can do better!
In terms of health improvements, my digestion is 100% improved. Amazing. Not so amazing I may have to restrict my dairy or gluten intake in the future. We shall see. Oh and my sleep. My goodness I have not slept so deeply since childhood. I put my head on the pillow and I don’t wake up until the alarm wakes me. I am so lucky to have seen results two weeks in already. If you haven’t seen much improvement, please don’t give up. I know it’s not easy, but just keep going. It only gets better.
So anyway, week 2 has been a tasty week of meals!
Breakfast is two slices of streaky bacon (I get mine from M&S. It isn’t nitrate-free, but I’m still looking. It’s sugar-free, which matters to me the most right now.), 2 eggs and an entire small avocado. I’m struggling with digesting all this meat, and I order some HCL for stomach acid. I haven’t tested it yet, but it is very likely that I have low-ish stomach acid. Hopefully my body will adapt, otherwise I will have to revert to eating more fibre-rich starches when I am done. I’m pondering transitioning back into a much lower meat diet (90% plant-based) if my body rejects the paleo movement. But I am absolutely convinced I need grains. Like oats and amaranth and buckwheat. I read an article about digestion on PaleoLeap and read that it is normal for digestion to slow down at the beginning of a paleo shift, because fats are replacing grains and grains contain bulking fibre. I might need to eat more vegetables.
For lunch, I finally got to taste my sauerkraut, which has been in the making for 10 days. It’s so delicious, I have it with romaine lettuce, boiled potatoes, garam masala chicken breast in coconut oil and a mayonnaise (from Waitrose, all natural. I fail at making my own.) and apple cider vinegar dressing.
For dinner, I make pork loin with a big kale salad, roasted potatoes and cooked cabbage. Again, very delicious. I’m getting a little comfortable with my cooking, I’ll have to keep my creativity in check.
One week down, 3 to go. We can do this. Even if our digestion is completely out of whack and we can’t stand the sight of ghee anymore. We’re fine.
I thought I would give you an insight into what I have been eating this week, at home and on the road. It’s not been easy every day, but I’m proud of pulling through!
Monday morning, post late-night pizza feels (has anyone else tried Domino’s newest pizza with fresh rocket and Prosciutto? It was so worth it.) I am craving something healthy!
For breakfast: two eggs fried in coconut oil, a quarter avocado with hot sauce (Red Hot) and some mushrooms, sautéed in coconut oil + bone broth. I normally have toast. I didn’t miss the toast.
For lunch: a crispy chicken breast on a bed of leaves with a tahini, basil, garlic, lemon juice and apple cider vinegar dressing.
For dinner: homemade beef burger patties (spiced with cumin + paprika) + roasted potatoes + crispy black kale.
I did snack on a handful or two of nuts, I must admit I hadnt quite grasped the concept of not snacking unless you absolutely need it. I promise I’ll get better.
It has been 5 days since we all started, and I must admit the emotional rollercoaster is the real deal. I thought everyone was being dramatic, but I’ve experienced my fair share of ups and downs this week.
So what exactly is the BARE. Lifestyle? Simplify, simplify, simplify. Minimalism is a big trend at the moment, and there is absolutely no reason why it shouldn’t apply to your plate or mindset, too. What you put in your mouth every day should not only give you the energy you deserve to have, but it should also make you super happy! And the food you eat shouldn’t crowd your head with questions, concerns and tension. Food is awesome and we want it to stay that way, right? So ditch the sugar, the processed junk, and start eating real. Eat the BARE. way!
Eating the BARE. way will allow you to feel great, there is no doubt about it. But your mental health will benefit from this journey enormously, too! Being more aware and mindful of yourself and others is more important than ever; we are always so busy, stuck in our routines and unappreciative, despite our efforts to make the most of our daily life. None of these mechanisms are our fault; they are the product of modern society. But we all have the power to change the way we lead our lives.
Whatever ethical, dietary or lifestyle choices you make, there is no one-size-fits-all magic formula. We are so amazingly different! So by taking it back to basics, allow yourself to be in tune with your physical and emotional needs rather than blindly following the latest trend or fad. Trends and fads can be really good fun, there is no denying that (the avocado fad has still not worn off on me, oops!) But first, you should know and understand yourself. 😙
I am a strong believer in second chances, and your body is a very forgiving organism. Give yourself another chance to feel amazing! If you like the sound of the BARE. lifestyle, don’t stop here – take action and head over to my recipes and lifestyle posts to get inspired and excited about simplifying your life.
My 3-step approach makes it easy for you to reach your goals; from experience, I know that trying to reach a goal without a structure or a plan is hard.
A BARE. head: understand and identify your emotional relationships, with food and your surroundings, take time for yourself and for others and be mindful of your place in the world through meditations and self-awareness exercises.
A BARE. plate and body: take time and learn food awareness by following my recipes and eating tips & find the physical activity you are most passionate about, and start getting perfectly in tune with your body.
A BARE. Lifestyle: integrate your new mindset, eating habits and exercise regime into your daily life. This is a time for you to reflect and transition into your new habits, share your experiences with others and move on. Knowing yourself well means you have the liberty to add or remove whatever feels right at the time. Your body and mind are ever-changing entities. 💌