After surviving my Anatomy and Physiology class I have finally rewarded myself with a much needed break. It has been a long while since I have had a chance to read and research nutrition. My books have collected dust on the nightstand next to my bed. But now I am back in the game and I am loving what I am learning. A couple of friends had told me about a new book and nutrition regiment called “The Whole 30.” Based upon the book, “It Starts With Food,” Dallas and Melissa Hartwig address the idea how the food we eat each day is harming our body and could be the possible root to many illnesses and diseases ailing the general public. It is not the first book I have encountered in my readings to hit upon this idea, but I always enjoy learning what each individual’s personal take is on the theory.
When I say the “food” we eat I mean the overly processed, meal-in-a-box variety that haunts a majority of our grocery shelves. The need for quick meals and food at our fingertips began when our society grew and expanded decades ago. Instead of growing vegetables, using local markets and eating “closer to the earth,” our society’s on-the-spot demand for products led to mass-produced quantities of canned this, dehydrated that, all carried large-haul shipments across the nation and around the world. To preserve food, companies had to find a way to keep it from spoiling while traveling to your grocer’s shelf. Begin the era of additives, preservatives and food dyes. There is enough room to write about this phenomenon, but I am not going to boggle you down in those details. It is worth research, though, just so you can be a more proactive consumer.
Today we are becoming more educated, mainly because our health has slowly deteriorated. Although a lot of companies still use preservatives and such in their products, many are taking notice of what consumers are asking for and removing some of those harmful things. But you still run into the problem of keeping food from spoiling, and this still requires some sort of preservative or less-than-natural additive in food. And this is where much of the problem arises today. I mean, how many of you have been to a restaurant and seen bottles of mayonnaise sitting on the tables instead of in the refrigerator? That is the stuff that makes my stomach flip a little and want to run the other way.
I have always been someone that tried to eat healthy, but ignorance was my enemy and I made a lot of mistakes. I ate low-fat, store-bought foods and completely missed the forest for the trees. Instead of looking at the ingredient lists of what I ate, I always payed attention to the calorie and fat content. I am not saying those things are not of major concern, but they are definitely only a piece of the proverbial pie in today’s nutritional regiments. Now I am more concerned about what a product has in it in addition to making sure it is not loaded with saturated fat, sodium and trans-fats. But that isn’t really enough for me, and I want to go a step further and get closer to eating things with ingredients I can say. I want to open up my refrigerator and see more condiments and food that I made with ingredients I want to use so I know it will be good for my body.
This is how I ended up becoming interested in The Whole 30 program. So now I am setting out on an endeavor and trying to adhere to the 30 day eating regiment and see if I feel as great as others claim to feel. I am excited to learn how to make my own ketchup, BBQ sauce and other food items with the ingredients I want my family to eat. Today marks a full week on the program. Was I perfect? No, but I tend to not do well with really strict regiments. I just love the process of flavors, textures and such when I cook. But I will say I stuck with it until the weekend. I had a few missteps in the form of Vodka, red wine (my ultimate indulgence) and a few birthday cookies. But I was more conscious of what I was eating and why. So I still feel the Whole 30 was in my head and working because I was being mindful of what I ate on the “naughty” list, and I took the time to enjoy each bite. I never would have done that before this trial, diving head first into a delicious cookie without really tasting it. Hope that makes sense, but it is truly how I felt when I sat and thought about my week. I never felt guilt, I guess I just appreciated and sensed flavors better after having an entire six days with really good, whole foods that didn’t have a lot of additives, sugar or other stuff I can’t pronounce (or even type correctly). I am A-Okay with that too.
I will check in again after going through another week of the program and trying out some new recipes. I think once I get the hang of cooking in this mindset, I will be able to become more adventuresome in my cooking. For right now, I am pulling things from the books.
The hardest part of this program is not being able to drink wine. That is such a cultural thing for me, and I do miss all its pomp and circumstance. So I am not going to beat myself up when I slip and have a glass, or two, of something fruity and fabulous.
If you are interested in checking out the Whole 30 program, I highly recommend reading the book “It Starts with Food.” It gives you a lot of the reasoning and science behind the program. Those are two areas I am extremely interested in, so I read every single page and added lots of highlights. If you are not into that and just want to find a good regiment to kick-start a healthy lifestyle, then just get the Whole 30 book/recipe guide online or at your local bookstore.
For any other information, just visit the web site at http://www.whole30.com. There you can read a bit about the authors, their educational background and get insight from others who have adhered to the program.
Wish me luck as I continue on, and I promise to be open and honest about my progress!
Until next time,