The Whole30 in Africa: the Aftermath
When I finished the Whole30, I didn’t feel like much had changed about my eating habits or my attitudes toward food. This is because initially, nothing changed. After my reintroduction stage, in which I felt great (remember that run during which I had the superhero powers of bread?), I dove into a bag of Easter candy from my mom. I ate brownies and I licked the bowl. I ate chocolate muesli for breakfast (and as a late night snack). I ate bread and cheese and pizza and hamburgers (with the bun, no cheese, just tasted better that way). And I still felt great.
Until I stopped feeling great.
It wasn’t mostly physical. I don’t really feel much different, which confirmed what I thought – that most of this talk about food is a bunch of hoo-ha (for me, anyway). Unless you have an actual disease, eat bread. Otherwise, make wise choices and enjoy food.
It was that I missed the food.
I missed my morning egg pizza thingy and banana with pecans. I missed the date balls. And, holy heck, the food I was eating – that Easter candy and the pretzels – they didn’t even taste good. An apple flavored candy just didn’t taste as good as an apple.
Okay, the chocolate tasted great. But the jelly beans? And the pretzels without chocolate? Not good, more like cardboard.
Other things I was now eating – popcorn, gum, the muesli with yogurt – tasted great but I had to control myself or I would waaay overindulge. Like three bowls of muesli, please.
But other things just didn’t taste good anymore.
And then the light bulbs started going off.
If they don’t taste good…don’t eat them. Doesn’t mean they are bad or unclean, they just aren’t what I want to eat. So don’t.
I don’t need to redo the Whole30 or live that way, because I still want to eat bread before I run and I want to eat popcorn and I want to eat chocolate.
But the things I don’t want to eat? Just don’t eat them. It sounds so simple. And the things I do want to eat – eat them guilt free, fully aware that I am making a choice. I am in control. Not the food, not a food journalist, not an article about the latest food trend. Me.
After about 10 days totally off the Whole30, I made my egg pizza thingy and banana with pecan. I didn’t even want the muesli and yogurt I’d eaten every morning before the Whole30. But guess what? As I’m writing this blog post, I have a big bowl of muesli and yogurt in my lap.
They say knowledge is power, right? I’d add knowledge + experiential evidence + personal preference = power. I knew all this stuff before – that jellybeans won’t fuel a great run or that chocolate muesli is essentially starting the day with a big bowl of cookies. But now I had evidence of a changed palate and a changed attitude toward the food and could harness that into making choices I could feel good about. Not good or bad or clean or dirty choices, just choices that made me happy.
So. There you have it, my Whole30 journey. I’m now almost two months out and am still eating cocoa date balls, more salads, more vegetables, less junk food, less processed food, and am simply being more intentional. Nothing very radical but I do know my body better now so I fulfilled my personal goal for the month.
Anyone out there going to try the Whole30?