I made mention in my last blog about my experience—and failure—with the Whole30 program. I believe that honesty is necessary, that it’s what we need to hear from each other on this paleo/primal journey. If all I ever read was how easy and perfect this new way of life was, I know that every time I failed at something, I’d feel pretty horrible and just give up. But when I read that other people, people that are perhaps way more experienced at this than I am, caved to temptation, then I feel better about myself. Not because I like to hear people fail, but because I feel a little better about my own stumbling blocks when I know that everyone has them.
So the Whole30 didn’t fit for me. I have not given up hope on it, though-- I have simply needed to modify it to make it work for me. So what was I trying to accomplish with my Whole30? Well, I certainly ate waaaay more chocolate leading up to Christmas than was desirable, and hence had a raging sweet tooth going on. I drank wine like it was going out of style. I was feeling a whole lot more “grain-free” than paleo or primal in my efforts and I knew I could do better. In addition to this, I am lactose intolerant, yet I allow dairy. Now, I’m a big advocate of Mark Sisson and his more laid-back “primal” style of both food and exercise. If Mark Sisson thinks a bit of dairy is ok, then I say dairy is ok, too. But I wondered, what was having dairy, when I can’t tolerate dairy, doing to my stomach, and the rest of me? I have chronic sinusitis. I wondered…. Could going without it for a month really change anything?
So my own version of a Whole30 isn’t perfect. I have decided to allow nitrate-containing foods into my diet—aka bacon and ham, because the nitrate-free versions are exceptionally expensive and hard to find, and who knows what new chemicals the “nitrate-free” versions are using that ten years from now we will say is the same thing as nitrates, anyways? And bacon is just too good to avoid. I also still consume soy sauce. I do not own coconut aminos, not yet, and from what I hear, it is not a perfect substitute for soy sauce anyways. I think I add soy sauce to a meal I’ve prepared about once every other week, and usually not very much at that. The stuff is pretty intense tasting, so a little bit does it just fine. I figure, if Mark Sisson does it, so can I. And he does. And I can still chalk it up to his whole 80/20 rule. Because no one is perfect all the time. And my version of the Whole30 includes pain killers. Sorry, but it just has to be. And I have crashed and eaten out in restaurants twice already this month. The first meal was a pre-determined menu, and there was not one thing on my plate that would be primally approved. But that is the way life is. Sometimes you just roll with it, pay the cost, and move on. The second meal out, I tried very hard to make smart choices. I had steak and sweet potato and a small Caesar salad (no croutons)—and suffered twice the discomfort as my first total-trainwreck of a restaurant meal. So there you go. Even the best of intentions can go awry. Life moves on.
What my Whole30 does not include is added sugar or dairy. I have been very good about this. I thought dairy would be my downfall, but I have actually survived just fine without it. I have found a dairy-free coffee creamer that I make myself that works just fine in my coffee and tea. I had my “taco bowl” with everything ontop of it except cheese, and there was so much stuff there that I didn’t even notice the cheese (and dollop of yogurt) was missing. Has my sinusitis disappeared? No, but it is only day 11 of my dairy-free experiment. Fortunately, my sugar-monster cravings disappeared on day 5 of my little experiment, so if you are fighting this same demon, know that it does get better. Have I actually lost any weight? Who knows—I have obediently refused to step on a scale and will not weigh myself until the first of February. That aspect is killing my husband who is riding this out right along with me, but it’s the not knowing that keeps you honest.
I am completely grateful for all of my facebook fans, because not one of them has called me out or put me down for my shortcomings or paleo failures. My husband, aka Mr No-Willpower, has actually been stronger this month than I myself am, and it has helped me considerably. What we all need is support, we need each other, because we all have people in our lives who are fighting our choices (I have 3 teens, all of whom are fighting this one way or another, subtly or overtly), and because we are fighting conventional wisdom with every breath we take. So thank you everyone! I hope you are all having enough success on this adventure to want to keep trying. Because trying is all we can do, isn’t it?