Our 30-Day Eating Challenge | Week 1

I've been going back and forth in my head all week about whether I wanted to post about our new eating adventure.  I was kind of embarrased, kind of felt like an imposter/cheater, and really didn't know if I felt like it.  But today at lunch, I realized I need to take this and make it my own.  So here goes.

My original intention was to complete the Whole30 program.  BG of Heavens to Betsy and JLW of Woodstock Writings both did it, and had really good things to say, so I tentatively decided to try it.  I didn't expect NES to want to join me.  I figured it'd be a pain doing it myself since we'd be making different meals, but he was game!  However, the more we looked at the program and talked about it, the more convinced we were that we needed to change it up a little bit.

First of all, neither of us went into this with the idea that this was really a diet.  The primary point wasn't to necessarily lose weight, but to reset our eating and generally feel better.  So, we decided to mix it up a little.

The Goal: Feel better about our eating, and challenge ourselves to reset our eating habits.

The Plan:  As I said, the original idea was to follow the Whole30, which entails cutting

  • added sugar
  • legumes
  • dairy
  • grains
  • alcohol
out of your diet.  Our plan is to {mostly} cut these out of our diet for 30 days.  This includes any sort of paleo baked products, since they are just imitations of the real thing, and our minds can't tell them apart in a certain sense.  So this means no baked goods for me! 

However, the Whole30 plan is extremely strict about not cheating.  Since we do often visit friends and family, we decided this just wasn't going to work for us.  We both felt it would be rude to ask our family and friends to bend all their plans to our eating choices.  So, we agreed to try our best to eat according to plan, but not ask people to go out of the way to feed us.  However, although this technically means "cheating" according to the Whole30 standard, we feel better about it, and both agreed (after a birthday party yesterday, where we did cheat a little) that we most definitely were avoiding many of the foods that we would usually eat (probably to nearly excess) at a party.  Since we are focusing on challenging our eating habits, I think this is really more important.  

We also went in knowing about a couple food events we didn't want to miss, so those were planned into our eating in advance.  But mainly at home and work, we are sticking to the rules.  Neither of us understands how the suggestion that you not snack is possible.  Especially this first week, we were both starving for a few days as we adjusted to the new diet, so we ditched that one right away.  I know there are other suggestions we're ignoring, but most of them are small comparatively.
Lessons Learned and Favorite Foods:  This week has both been harder and easier than I thought.  
  • On day 2, I was craving carbs like nobody's business.  I made some homemade banana bread Lärabars this day, and I hate to say that they've kind of become my replacement carbs.  Whole30 warns against using them as candy replacements, but no one said anything about carb replacements . . . . 
  • On day 5, I had a girls' night in with some friends.  Although I cheated a little after dinner (CJC and SC made homemade cookies just for us!), I ordered a salad for dinner.  While the rest of them ate pizza, I ate my salad.  And although I won't say there are times I want pizza, I neither craved it while it was in front of me nor afterwards.  I've found that after a week of eating this way, I don't really think about eating forbidden foods as much as I thought I would.
  • Before, my go to snack foods were chocolate and salty carbs!  Yikes!  Any time I want something quick and snacky, those are my first thoughts, and I need to think about alternatives!
  • Salad in a jar is an amazing thing!  I've made them ahead for lunches at school, and wow, are they yummy!  So far I've enjoyed leftover chicken with avocado, lettuce and homemade balsamic vinagrette, and leftover steak with hard boiled egg, lettuce and homemade avocado ranch dressing!  Both were tasty! 

  • Avocado is my new best friend!  I've been looking for a replacement for mayo in tuna fish for a long time, and after trying hummus and avocado, I've decided avocado is where it's at!  Also, avocado and salsa are awesome on eggs (scrambled or over-hard, no runny yolks for me, please!) and  avocado makes a great creamy dressing without any dairy!  
  • Steak is really great seasoned just with salt and pepper.  We actually learned this at JLW and CW's wedding, but NES reinforced it with a yummy steak lettuce wrap dinner!  
  • Starting a major eating change like this on the day of even a {tiny} triathlon is not the best idea . . . but, well, now I know.  
While we aren't quite feeling all the benefits after only 7 days, it's definitely been a learning experience and eye-opening!  


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