Whole 30

(-It’s bandwagon time)

I groaned myself out of bed the other day and made my way towards the bathroom, as per my usual daily routine. In the pre-dawn space of crusty eyes and failing mental acuity, I shook the night’s malaise from my head and gazed in the mirror. It was in this reflection I was resigned to my truth…I am not happy with how I look or feel.

No, I am not obese, yes, I am active, and I am staring down the barrel of 40, but despite these factors, I believe I can do better, I can be better.

I have always had an interesting relationship with food, which teeters on unhealthy. Saving the deep psychological questions of finding the root of the relationship with food for another post, today, we will focus on the past, present, and future. My “ah-ha” moment came in 2004 at a medical appointment. As I was waiting for the doctor to come in, I thought it prudent to read over my chart which the nurse left on the desk. A quick scan showed nothing surprising, male, 20s, etc. But when my eyes settled on the numbers representing that days weight, I was decisive in the need for change.

Me in 2004, 245 pounds

I started slow, giving up soda, making subtle food changes, joining a gym and making the elliptical machine my best friend. I dove into learning about healthy meals and filling snacks. I was dedicated to loosing the weight slowly over years to keep the change permanent, and it worked. The first 20 lbs fell off and I felt better. I began to run, finding a passion for both being outdoors and giving myself the gift of a habit which allowed me to address the many thoughts swirling in my head. I would start to call the runs my “Road Therapy” and in that solitude and rhythm I could find clarity, like a ship sailing out of a winter storm.

Me in 2018, 170 pounds

And it was Good, and I was Happy. So I kept going. Using a BMI calculator I found what my idea weight should be and I set that goal. I was alway close to achieving my ideal weight (actually I keep an ideal range of about 5 lbs. I allow myself to fluctuate, knowing if I approach the ceiling, I need to reign it in, and if I’m near the floor…I can afford to double up on the wine or pasta. It works for me). However reaching that target was very difficult, it seemed just barely out of reach.

Through a church small group we made the decision to try the Daniel Fast for lent in 2012. 28 days of a super restrictive diet, no booze, no coffee, no joy (well a little joy…my mistake was only focusing on the food and not the spiritual growth). Afterwards I had made my goal! From that point it was just cruising. But, as your body changes and as your metabolism adjusts to age, I found it was important to focus on not so much how much I ate, but what I was eating; I was not getting the same results from exercise I had in the past. This leads to the Whole 30 Diet.

Coming back from two and a half weeks in Thailand and Vietnam where we allowed ourselves to indulge in the local cuisine, coffee, booze, and lifestyle left us carrying extra fluff as we arrived and reintegrated in the U.S. Compiled with arriving during the holidays and taking every opportunity to get our fill of cakes and craft beer, left me where I was on that morning, uncomfortable and unsatisfied. I have a dependent relationship on the foods that cause inflammation. As I look at my family and their health history and then at my two daughters and the nutritional legacy I want to leave for them, I recognize the need for a reset. I need to send a “new phone, who dis” text to my current diet. That is what I am banking the Whole 30 will bring to me. An opportunity to break-up with sugar and see what effects dairy really have on me. This diet (as outlined below) should lay out that change I need. The most important thing I am bringing to this is a mindset and determination of change. I’ve chosen tomorrow, February 12, as the start date. Partnering with my wife, we will navigate these next 30ish days while still preparing kid healthy meals, for our girls, which may not toe the line of the whole 30. Because temptation only makes you stronger…right?

Keep posted for status updates, recipe hacks, and maybe some advice, good or bad.


Whole30 – Abbreviated Version

Forbidden Fruits…so to speak:

  • All Dairy
  • All Grains and Pseudo-grains ( I guess it means those grains who only pretend to be fortified, you know at parties, it’s an image thing)
  • No booze…not even to cook with (sad face)
  • Nothing processed
  • Nothing with added sugar or the many disguises sugar wears.
  • Butter, processed oils
  • legumes and beans

But it is almost easier to tell you what you can eat…

  • MEAT (and lots of it)
  • Veggies: green ones, yellow ones, red ones, blue ones…there is no limit to the veggie train
  • Yes, even potatoes (there is hope for all you meat and potato guys out there), but in moderation
  • Ghee (which is butter with all the milk solubles cooked out)

Aside from dos and don’ts the meal program has a couple of other stipulations. For example, you are not allowed to weigh yourself for the 30 days, except on the first day and last day (I’lll be updating either this post or others with weights, pictures, and such from day one to day 30).

For complete list check out the Whole 30 Rules or search any #Whole30 for some good resources and mouth-watering photos.

Starting tomorrow, I hit the renew and reset buttons on my relationship with food. It’ll be a journey and I am committed to seeing it through. So here it goes…


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