I'm a little behind on sharing this, but I put together a story that ran in the Austin American-Statesman in April summing up my experiences with Whole30. I'm working on some more follow-up posts about it, but until then: Here's an excerpt of what I wrote, followed by a link to the full story. Enjoy!
A few months ago, I was in a rough spot.
For the past year, I’d been recovering from a horrific breakup and a job loss, which led to a major bout of depression and anxiety that brought with it a lot of extra emotion and physical weight. I took a lot of comfort in food. I never thought twice about treating myself to pizza or tacos or Whataburger, ironically because I was trying to be kind to myself.
I thought I’d treat myself to unhealthy foods because I “deserved it” because everything else in my life felt so awful. All it did was cause me to gain more than 30 pounds over the course of a year, which left me feeling worse than ever. I needed a change.
So, on Feb. 1, I embarked on a journey to “food freedom,” slang for “not having an emotional connection to your food” in the world of the Whole30. What is Whole30?
I hesitate to call it a diet, because it goes a few steps beyond just telling you what to eat, but it’s a lifestyle program that encourages eliminating “psychologically unhealthy, hormone-unbalancing, gut-disrupting, inflammatory food groups” from your body for a full 30 days.
The program is aimed to help pinpoint which foods may have a negative impact on your physical and mental health by eliminating certain foods and then gradually reintroducing them after the 30 days are up.
The forbidden food groups? Grains, dairy, legumes, added sugar, alcohol and a handful of banned additives, including MSG, sulfites and carrageenan. It’s no easy feat. I was checking labels constantly and had to be the girl who disrupted brunch to ask questions like, “What type of oil do you cook your vegetables in?” It also meant eating three full meals a day and a lot of cooking at home, which was extremely new for me.