If you had told me even two months ago that I would complete a Whole30 – go 30 days without grains, legumes, sugar or dairy – I would have laughed in your face. OK, so dairy is an easy one for me, since I was vegan for three years, but still, I love cheese. On top of my love for all these food groups, I have ranted about how stupid the “paleo” diet is for years.
I don’t remember what made me look into the Whole30 at this particular time. But I know why I decided to try it – I’ve been depressed for about four or five months. For me, depression mostly manifests itself as irrational, disproportional anger. I was blowing up constantly over the littlest things. I made my kids cry. I do not want my children’s earliest memories of me to be ones where I am storming about and screaming.
I’ve been on anti-depressants before, and I considered going that route again. Before I did that, though, I wanted to try to see if I could make a few lifestyle changes to improve things. I started exercising daily, and that helped. I started eating better, and that helped more. Then I read The Whole30 book, and thought “Why the hell not?”
Here’s what I hoped to see as a result:
- Improved moods, less anger.
- An easier time waking up. (Ask anyone in my family. I wake up HARD.)
- More even energy levels throughout the day, and a decrease in hangry events. (Usually, if I don’t eat every 2-3 hours, you’d better watch out, because I might take your head off.)
- Decrease in cravings, particularly for sugar.
- Increase in the amount of vegetables I eat daily. (For the most part, my diet tends to consist of breads and cheese, in various forms. This was not acceptable.)
Today was day 30, and I can report that I have seen improvement in all these areas. I don’t need more than one cup of coffee in the morning, though I usually have a second just because I like coffee. I am functional even before that cup of coffee. I don’t have that 3pm run-down that I always experienced every day. I’m still struggling a bit with anger, but in general my mood has vastly improved. I can go much longer between eating, and though I’ve been very, very hungry a couple times, I don’t think I’ve been hangry once. And oh, the veggies I have eaten.
There have been a couple bonuses, too. My workouts have been stronger. I’ve discovered a couple new favorite foods and recipes. In general, food just tastes better. And yes, I’ve lost weight. I am now basically the size I was before having kids; I haven’t weighed or measured myself yet, but I did have to go buy some new jeans and dresses.
While I stand by my statements that it’s stupid to say you’re eating like a caveman if you’re consuming mass quantities of coconut flour or almond milk, I must now also admit that there may be something to eating this way.
I’ll be doing a slow reintroduction of the different foods, and we’ll see how long these new habits stick. Honestly, this has been such a positive experience that I hope most of them do.