Whole30 Ready, Maybe

By December of 2014, I’d gained back about 10 pounds of the 30 I’d lost the year before. I’ve run the gamut of emotions on that one, but one of those, luckily, is a tepid sense of accomplishment, because, even though I weigh more on the scale, my measurements have more or less remained the same (everywhere except my hips; thanks, Latina side of me). I know I have weightlifting to thank for this, as I have actually been consistently going to Bodypump (weightlifting classes) with a good friend/coworker of mine since last summer. I went from barely being able to carry my own groceries to seeing visible, measurable muscle on my body that I’m actually pretty damn proud of. It turns out, I like being strong. Like, really like it. And it also turns out that my body likes building muscle (and still mostly hates cardio).

But, while I can attribute some of the weight gain to muscle, I know it’s probably not realistic that all of it is just dem gainz (despite how hard I tried to convince myself that I was eating so much because I was bulking haha). I knew I needed to get my eating back in check, especially after the decadence that was those winter holiday months. Don’t get me wrong, I actually eat pretty healthy most of the time. I am a big believer in the spirit of the paleo diet–meat and veggies and fats–and I’ve grown to actually really like those things. I don’t eat pasta or grains or most dairy not because I’m just blindly following some rules but because I actually don’t really want any of it. I like food, and I like a lot of it, and the amount of veggies I can for the same calories as a plate of pasta is truly astounding. To me, clean eating is nice because it appeals to my psychological desire for quantity.

But my one real weakness? Sugar. Oh sugar. Even with all I know about sugar (you should really see Fed Up if you haven’t already), even with as much rationalizing as I can do about it, it’s just so hard for me to quit it. Sugar is the one thing  I know I can actually trim from my diet and would help. I also knew that I needed to cut back on portions, and while I think the idea of intuitive eating is great, I prefer measurable data so I started calorie counting in January. It’s helped, some. I’ve had some losses and some gains, but with a bachelorette trip to Mexico approaching, it’s time to hunker down.

So, starting Monday, a couple friends and I will be starting our first ever Whole30 (which will turn out to be more of a Whole27 or so because we had a Supper Club meeting planned Sunday and rather than cheat early on, we decided to start the day after, but I digress). The good thing is that Whole30 (a pared down intro to the paleo diet) is really not that different from my everyday eating. But those few things I will have to actually change, mostly concerning my Badboy-friend Sugar, is gonna be hard. I will try to update you on the journey here so that it can help keep me accountable, but, as you know from my lack of blogging, sometimes it can be hard to sit down and write. In the meantime though, I’d love to hear from you! Have you ever tried Whole30? Did you enjoy it? What were your results? Did it have any lasting impact on the way you eat? Are you interested in trying it down the line?

I know, I know. It’s been an absurdly long time since I last posted. But, life, you know: guests, birthdays, travel, more birthdays, more travel, emotional and physical exhaustion from all of the above. It’s a good one, but it’s life, nonetheless. And while I’m planning on posting either a real recipe or a recap of my travels sometime soon, in the meantime, I came across this super helpful discussion of what exactly all those descriptors on the chicken you buy means. I’ve often thought that sometimes the more you learn about eating healthy, mindfully, and conscientiously, the more you find out how much you don’t know. There’s a lot of obfuscation going around in the marketing world, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed and confused. So, I hope this article helps clear up some questions you might have!

With the recent release of Fed Up in theaters, I was reminded of an article I read from the New York Times a while back. Published early last year, it discusses the science the food industry uses to make us addicted to junk foods.  If you’ve ever tried to quit processed foods and failed, or ever wondered how you could even try in the first place, this (long but) great read will hopefully shine some light on that!

With production costs trimmed and profits coming in, the next question was how to expand the franchise, which they did by turning to one of the cardinal rules in processed food: When in doubt, add sugar. 

The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk FoodThe New York Times.

You may have noticed that on this blog I tend to shy away from giving actual advice on what diet/methods/habits people should adopt.  Rather than telling anyone what they should or shouldn’t eat, I mostly remind people that what works for me doesn’t necessarily have to work for you.

This article in the New York Times is precisely why I approach this the way that I do.  I thought it was enlightening to read the way the scientific method has morphed within the nutrition industry.  What is boils down to is this: we know something is wrong in American eating culture, but we don’t really know what.  That is why my biggest piece of advice is this: pay attention to your body.

To me, my “healthy” diet means eating whole, real (not processed) food, focusing on protein and veggies.  This is why I follow a Paleo template but also include other “prohibited” foods that don’t bother me much (like potatoes).  Healthy for me also means cooking at home, because there is both a lack of knowledge and control in restaurant settings.  What does “healthy” mean to you?

The questions are endless:  should I eat less fat?  More fat?  Less carbs?  Red meat?  Should I stop eating gluten?  What is gluten??  What’s the deal with eggs?

If you are confused about nutrition, you are not alone.  In fact, if the flip-flopping nutrition industry is any indication, a lot of people are confused.  This article does a pretty thorough job of addressing a lot of these questions, citing actual scientific sources, and hopefully eliminating some of that overwhelmed feeling.

Want some short answers?  Healthy fats are healthy.  Unhealthy fats are not.  Eat carbs in the form of fruits and veggies.  Grass-fed red meat is the way to go.  Don’t go gluten-free if you aren’t allergic to it.  Gluten=wheat.  Eggs are the perfect nutrition package.