Wednesday, May 7, 2014

whole yadda yadda

I'm baaaaa-aaaack....!
Finished up my finals last week--woohoo! One semester down.....400 more to go.

For the past few months I've been hearing a whollllle lot about Whole 30. 
What's Whole 30 you ask? Check it out HERE. 
(long story short: no sugar, dairy, grains, legumes, soy and then some other little ones--for 30 days straight, then you add them back in.) 

Here has been the progression of my thoughts on Whole 30:
-total fad diet. I hate fads. and diets. moving on.
-ok, it's seeming less like a diet. but it's definitely a bandwagon. I also don't like being on bandwagons. or off bandwagons. or whatever it is you do with bandwagons....not for me.
-what?! there is a book? there is science behind this?! I love food science! I may need to read this.
-over a few weeks I looked through different Whole 30 approved meals--partly out of curiosity, and partly just looking for new meal ideas.....some of this stuff is GOOD.
-Last Monday I was cleaning up dinner and realized that my entire day had been a "Whole 30" day....and not on purpose.
-So then I was like, ok....let's see what this is all about. Two more days of it, no problem....really. I already have cut out a lot of gluten this year--I've been trying to figure out how to clear up my skin. I've curbed my sugar cravings--we've really only had treats on special occasions and a weekend here and the first 3 days were no biggie.
-................and then we went camping, and because I wasn't really invested in this crazy thing, nor had I read the book, I didn't really care enough to continue through a camping weekend. So I ate chili with beans, curry with rice, and dutch oven brownies (oh yesssss).
-I started the book, and so far it is just fascinating! I'm not very far in, but I love what I'm learning so far. I've been eating 100% W30 these past couple of days and I honestly love coming up with meal ideas that work.....and yet I still have no intentions of carrying this thing out 30 days.

-in my last few weeks of research I've found so many good recipes and helpful tips on Instagram.....but then it started feeling a lot like a clique.....and I hated that. Like fads and bandwagons, I absolutely detest cliques. They feel gross and slimy and I want no part. I think too many people have become a little obsessed with this latest health movement, and a couple of times I've witnessed (via the internet obviously) strangers belittling any other lifestyle that is not "Whole 30 approved". And I think that's LAME. I've read stupid comments like "some people just aren't strong enough to do something like this." 
You are not elite because you don't eat tortillas for a month honey, sorry.
There is no ONE right way. It's about finding what is right for YOU. Never ever ever let someone make you feel like your own healthy choices are not the "right" healthy choices. 
I really had to laugh as I read through some of these girls' comments to eachother--catty and ignorant sounding--bashing one another's lifestyles. Girls, stop it.....seriously. It's like if you're not eating by these rules, you might as well eat fast food every single meal, and you will die a slow and painful artery clogged death. Not so.
*I'm not saying everyone who does the program is this way....I just read too many snarky comments that rubbed me the wrong way. 

-I have a healthy relationship with food. I eat a little of this and a little of that, and that's how we like it. After reading alot of W30 testimonials, I have found that many of the people who started, did so because they were eating loads and loads of sugar and needed a good way to stop. If sugar is your vice--then I think this would be an excellent lifestlye change for you! Seriously, check it out.  I feel like my sugar intake is under I'm not needing W30 for that.

-by taking out legumes and grains, most of the Whole 30 people I see are eating meat daily--or close to it. We only eat meat a couple times a week--for cost purposes because I buy properly raised meat, and also because meat every day just seems heavy to me.

-in the handful of days that I have eaten W30, I have gotten more veggies in than ever before. We eat vegetables every day normally....but taking out grains and legumes has really made me load up--breakfast lunch and dinner--it feels good to be downing so many different colors.

-last year at the beginning of summer I had to have a colonoscopy (you're thinking "whaaaaaaaaaat") and before you go in for the procedure you have to do a total cleanse--EVERYTHING MUST GO! After I did it, I can't even tell you how good I felt. I am a naturally sleepy person....but I had ridiculous energy, I slept so well, my headaches were gone, and I felt like a film had been removed from over my brain--everything was so clear. This lasted for a while, and slowly faded as summer turned to fall. The more I read into the "WHY'S of this program--many of the things we eat cause inflammation and other health issues--a little bit of me wonders if I took out these things for a month and slowly added them would I feel? hhmmm.

-what fascinates me most is the healing powers of food. I know this already because of my history with Lyme--we completely changed our diet because of it. I have been reading of so many people with different ailments, and how they've found great success by eating this way--I really believe food can be our best medicine.

I'm still reading the book--I love to learn whether I end up fully applying my new knowledge or not.
I'm still thinking up Whole 30 recipes because I like the challenge of it.
I'm still planning on sharing Lucy's birthday cake this month. And she's debating between pizza or sushi, and I won't be the mom who doesn't eat her daughter's birthday dinner.
Mostly....I'm just curious....and I think that's a good thing in life.
taco salad // the little red house
Taco Salad
hey this is Whole 30 approved! 
To make it non-W30 and (obviously) extra tasty add tortilla chips, black beans, and pepperjack cheese.

-ground beef, browned and seasoned with chili powder, ground chipotle flakes, cumin, smokey paprika, minced garlic, salt (don't buy taco seasoning--just mix up your own spices!)
-sweet potatoes, diced and tossed in coconut oil and roasted at 425°
-chopped romaine
-bell peppers
-green onions

Avocado Dressing
In blender combine:
2 avocados
juice of two limes
large handful of cilantro
small handful red onion
1 jalapeno (with or w/out seeds)
spoonful of real mayo (make sure it doesn't have soybean oil or any mystery ingredients if you're going for W30)
splash of white vinegar 
while blender is running, drizzle in some olive oil until smooth and creamy

To learn more about Whole 30, or just read about some really interesting food science,
 check out the book:
It Starts with Food

Not convinced on Whole 30 but want to read about moderation? 
Look into this post I wrote last fall on Eating Well

Just eat what you want and don't be judgmental about it.

What are your thoughts on this Whole 30 business? 
I'd love to hear your success stories, or why it maybe didn't work for you.
Are you curious? Me too!
I'll let you know my thoughts when I finish the book.


Hillary K. said...

I'm two weeks in my whole30 round and I'm LOVING it. But I mostly did it because my sugar addiction was crazy and I was having bloating/water retention issues even though I was eating pretty healthy. These have gone away and I feel great.

Another thing I've loved about whole30 so far is that I'm getting over my fear of actually eating food. I've had disordered eating for about 5 years now and have been scared of eating too much or eating fats. But I eat so much more on whole30 (including lots of healthy fats!) and my clothes fit better and my stomach is flatter. I am healing my relationship with food and for me, that's worth it.

The part that's really hard is that I am pursuing my PhD and it's really hard to make time to prepare whole30 compliant food or to go home to get dinner since I'm on campus all day. It's a bit of an inconvenience.

But I totally get you with the clique part. I follow people on instagram for recipes, but I don't post my own stuff.

summer said...

SHEENA! I absolutely love this, which probably doesn't surprise. Thanks so much! I can't wait to look into W30 more. I've been seeing it around, but now it feels like I've "talked" with a real person about it. :) Also, thanks for the taco salad inspiration -- your photos never ever ever disappoint!

summer said...

ps. so glad you're baaaaack!
pps. just went and read up on it a bit. LOVE.

Rachelle said...

I don't know... I don't think it's a fad. I don't think people intentionally try to make things click-y either. People just get really excited about what they are doing in life. It's the same thing with any lifestyle really.

I agree we should eat what is best for us and not judge others. Food has a way of becoming such a sensitive subject. I remember feeling a little bad when you started changing your eating habits all those years ago because I was still down with cookies. So, we all need to be careful and not act as though we are better than others because of what we do and do not eat.

That being said, I thought whole30 was so positive. No one can eat too many whole foods in my opinion. When we are home we try to eat as many veggies as possible and don't stress the occasional treat or meal out.

sheena said...

@hillary I LOVE your story--so inspiring! Way to go:) And huge thumbs up to doing it during school!

sheena said...

@rachelle I think it is an awesome lifestlye change for so many people--and probably will be a fad for some. I think for the most part it isn't cliquey like you said--I think I just got into reading the wrong stuff and it rubbed me the wrong way. I think even healthy food can be obsessed over to a point where it's no longer healthy because it is an OBSESSION. And that's why I love YOU! You are a girl who can find a good balance with healthy and treats:)

Anonymous said...

Love your perspective on this. I too eat pretty well most of the time and sugar is not my vice. I've had to unsubscribe from so many blogs because I would open them up to find encouragement and healthy recipe ideas...instead I found fear, shame and guilt and those alone can lead you to an early grave...probably faster than a fast food diet. I know people get excited about feeling better...but yeah, dont condemn...let your energy, excitement, weight loss...whatever be your inspiration; not your perfectly executed meal plans and your die hard determination to avoid "bad" foods.

Lindsay said...


I did the Whole-30 two years ago (for about five days), so it's funny to me that it's just barely picking up speed. It's been around for a while. I agree wholeheartedly with every word you said. I am learning more and more that the healthiest way for me to eat (and live) is without judgment--doing what feels best for me and my family.

I love these health posts. Please keep them coming!

twinsontherun said...

I agree with a lot of your thoughts on this. One reason I'm hesitant to start is because of the amount if meat you mentioned. I've noticed lots of people still use processed meats (like Applegate Farms) during W30 but my family gets our meat from a local farm. It would be cost prohibitive for us to consume more meat than 2-3 times a week like we do now. And I don't know if I could survive on just a heap of veggies haha! I'm sure I could figure out something but those are my initial thoughts.
I love the idea of W30 and was pleasantly surprised to find out how often our meals are compliant without me even knowing!

Kelly Jo said...

I have not heard too much about W30. Sugar, carbs, and cheese are definately my weaknesses and I have often thought about doing something like this to see how what I'm eating really affects my body. I notice I feel bloated and sluggish a lot, but usually end up blaming it on lack of exercise and life, ha! My boyfriend and his two daughters can be sort of picky about what they eat but the last couple years I have been trying to introduce more whole foods into my diet as well as theirs. I think the challenge of coming up with meals for this is great, the more inspiration the merrier when it comes to food. Looking forward to hearing more about your experience with this. I love what you said about how there is no ONE right way. I couldn't agree more!

Becky said...

While I haven't done the whole 30, I basically eat pretty close to it and LOVE it. Last year, I did an intense 21 sugar cleanse- no dairy, grains, legumes, etc. I couldn't believe the different I felt. I found I was dairy sensitive and also found grains make me incredibly sleepy. I agree with you, it's how you feel. I find I need protein with every meal, but some people may not. However, I think the only way we can discover that is to cut out everything for awhile and then slowly add it back in.

Interestingly, I find my family has been led on this journey. For the last two years, my son has been incredibly angry to the point we were debating on getting him to a psychologist. Mom instinct told me he was allergic to soy (he also has other allergies.) Once I took him off all soy (processed food), he is such a happy, sweet, loving child. I couldn't believe the difference! He also was in food therapy, he limited himself to five foods, we found he is also allergic to wheat and I think he was so scared of eating foods because they have made him feel so awful for his short, little life (he is only 6.) Now that we eat whole foods without wheat and soy, he is eating and trying food!

I am so amazed at the profound effect food as on our family and just wish others could recognize the impact food may be having on them! Sorry for the rambling and thanks for reading! :)

And thank you for your wonderful blog! You make me happy!

eden greer said...

What the huh?? I LOVE reading about the healing powers of real food!! I really love how you write and how you challenge yourself and others! I am really wanting to control my sugar intake so I feel like it is totally something I would benefit from checking it out. Thanks for summing it up so nicely!

Sabrina said...

Agree 100% with you. I actually found it on IG because I thought it was one of your recipes then I just started following it because some of the food looks amazing and similar to your recipes. I will never follow it but will definitely try meals here and there (I work full-time and in my list of priorities I'd rather have family time than meal plan). I also think women are just so mean to each other and judgmental that this is the latest outlet to do that. I think it's a great concept but different things work for different people. Embrace our differences people.

L, Ann and boys said...

i've never heard of it...I must live under a rock or something ;) I'm with you on hating fads though...blah

Mama said...

I'm glad you are exploring and writing about W30. I appreciate your perspective. I feel the same way about trendy diets and I search for balance. I liked that you don't HAVE to buy the book - so much is available online. I also like the Whole 9 life principles (things that they feel are important to incorporate into your life, for balance and good health):
Healthy Movement
Time in Nature
Fun & play
Reduce Stress
Personal growth
Temperance (moderation)
I like their style. They are passionate about the W30, but AFTER that, after you then experiment w/your reactions to potentially troublesome foods - they talk about deliberately choosing to go off plan (knowing how your body may react) for something that is worth it - like Grandma's special dessert she prepares only once a year! I like how they think. I avoid comments on MANY subjects from news to nutrition because of the snarky comments. (Unless I'm in a feisty mood!)
I feel GREAT eating this way!

Vita said...

Mm, yes, I absolutely hate fads and W30 in a lot of ways looks like one. You are so right, that we all are different, so there is no point in "one diet suits all" thinking, but that's the brilliance of W30 - it differs depending on the person. It's just a guide, so we can freely choose if we want to eat meat every single day or just once a week. I love it :)

cnorman said...

I appreciate your opinion very much, and as someone who followed your blog before I damaged my gut, and then continued to follow it after (even though I almost didn't, bc I can't eat the majority of the recipes you post) I still enjoyed the lifestyle posts in your blog!

I can tell you the paleo diet is no fad. I would be a wreck without it. For those of us that can't process gluten and other things such as soy - paleo is a way of life. I understand you're looking at the Whole 30, which is an approach for people that possibly don't have those issues to gut processed foods out of their life - but I can tell you that the science that it's centered on is paleo. And Paleo is not a fad, at least not to me!

Again, thoroughly enjoyed reading the post! Enjoy your exploration!

Valley Girl said...

Oh. Man. I don't even know where to begin. Someone asked me the other day if I was vegan. I said, "no I am an "ish"....I am veganish, gluten freeish, whole 30ish, paleoish....ect." The deal is this people. Eat real food. That's it. Eat real food. If something doesn't make you feel good. Don't eat it. If it does make you feel good, strong, clear, light, it. It seems that not eating something, cleansing, taking a break from a certain food is the one effective way to truly figure out which foods this is true for. If you want to call this a diet...okay. I would call it being smart. From my personal experience food that was made in a factory (what ever it might be) goes in the "no thanks" category and stuff that came out of the ground and then to my kitchen goes in the "right on" category. I think we make this way harder than it actually is. Please keep talking about this. About how amazing food is. About how great feeling great is. About what a strong body can do. You make food fun, sexy, interesting, challenging, and I love the way you express your passion for it. Virtual high five headed your way friend!

Hayley said...

Gosh its crazy how something so simple as the food you put on your plate can cause such emotions, sensitivities, and mean words.

I am loving W30, however I'm not sold that it's the best thing for me long term. I agree that I want to enjoy my daughter's birthday cake and I love treating myself + beans. I need beans. I have the problem with the sugar brakes though and that is what I am really working out with W30 - and I think it's totally helping.

People have ways (social media) of turning anything good or bad into absolute craziness.

Balance is key. That and really good REAL food.

Melissa said...

I especially love your thoughts and the two comments previous to mine. I couldn't agree more: balance and real food seems to about cover it all: in saying that, I seem to struggle with both of those concepts, lol!! I've seen this "obsession" you mention in so many areas, lately!! From exercise programs to eating programs to schooling/educating programs and you're so very right: I totally respect people's lifestyle choices and I learn from other people, but everything seems so cliquey now!! Yoga, running, food, school vs.non school, seems to be a lot of judgement out there...huh, crazy. Thanks for the thoughts and the dialogue. Oh: I also steered clear of oils for the same "trend" reason, but I recently delved in: amazing. Emily of Anderson crew blog has thorough info on young living oils, as does Jodi Mockabee of Native American oils. Highly suggest their reads...lemon essential oil is divine!! I used my whole bottle in a week!! Keep up the amazing posts, Sheena. Love it all. I've asked before, but I'd love to see more of your living spaces!!!