Since starting Paleo, my skinny jeans have become baggy.
For the next 30 days, the Park household has gone Paleo – not just Paleo – Whole30 Paleo.
- Sugar of any kind (honey, stevia, agave nectars included)
- Alcohol (not even for cooknig)
- White potatoes
- Carrageenan, MSG or sulfites
- And, to make it harder core than just eating paleo, there’s no paleo-ifying of baked goods, desserts or junk foods
But why…why would any human being do this?!
Our bodies were falling apart.
OK, not literally.
But for a while now, we’d been having issues with our body, mental focus, and emotional well-being. And, quite frankly, doctor visits, medication, and even just exercising wasn’t helping to fix.
More importantly, we had been learning a lot about how food had a lot of power in helping our baby Knightly grow physically, mentally and emotionally – something we’re especially sensitive to as parents of a beautiful special needs baby.
We’d had some family members and good friends talk about going Paleo. And we thought, BAH, another crazy food dieting fad.
‘Til we saw what they looked like just a few months later. We’ve seen people go from obese to in shape (and stay that way years later), dependency on caffeine go away, sharpened mental acuity and energy, and even long-term health problems going away. And for Christmas, one of them got us a book:
So David was all, “Hey, I think we should start eating right” and start stocking up on books on nutritions like Grain Brain and Eat, Drink and Be Healthy: The Harvard Medical School Guide to Eating Healthy. We started meeting with a holistic health coach, Susan Largent, whom we absolutely loved. There seemed to be a general agreement in the benefits of the Whole30 program so we thought – heck, why not?
So what is Whole30?
For 30 days, we push a “reset” button on what we’ve been eating and remove any foods that could possibly be hurting our body. It is supposed to change our emotional relationship/dependence we have on food and cravings (which even in the first week it has).
And for 30 days, we don’t step on the scale after day one.
What do we eat?
- Good fats from fruits, oils, nuts and seeds
For all the proteins, the goal is to eat as sustainable, pastured, organic, grass-fed whenever we can.
After 30 days, we slowly introduce other food groups in to see what may be affecting our body.
How we started.
Step 1 | Cleaning Out Our Pantry
Insane. We had BOXES and BAGS of all kinds of food that were unhealthy. We were amazed to find how much MSG was in random sauces, dressings, seasonings and even in our supplements.
By the way, these are what we take for daily supplements: digestive enzyme, Vitamin D3, Magnesium, and grass-fed beef bone broth.
Step 2 | Planning Out a Week’s Worth of/Go To Meals
Firstly, let me confess – I burn things in the microwave. Ask my siblings. I never cooked other than…maybe an egg.
So I was terrified at the prospect of needing to 99% of the time make the food from home.
But I fell in love with the simplicity of these recipes and ingredients. There are SO many great resources out there for great recipes. My favorites:
our favorite meals this week
- ALL-TIME FAVORITE!!…so far Paleo Stuffed Peppers
We made them Mickey Mouse shaped for fun with our Disney silicone mold a bride gave us!
- Our go-to easy-to-make breakfast: Fried eggs, avocados + sweet potato hash (yum!)
- Bananas with Trader Joe’s Almond Butter!!! Our favorite snack
Once you pick your recipes, you can create your shopping list and go to the store.
Step 3 | Going Shopping
Whole30 had easy shopping lists and seasonal produce guides (and lists for when you’re on a budget). But the hardest part was learning to shop organic, grass-fed, sustainable. We were able to get a lot of great stuff this first week from:
- Hallelujah Cattle Company | 100% grass-fed, grass-finished beef
- WholeFoods, Sprout’s, Mother’s
- Wholesome Choice for fruits and veggies
- How to Have a Healthy Cowboy | 100% grass-fed beef bone broth
- Susan Largent | holistic health coach for nutritional guidance/recommendations specifically tailored for our family
for us, it isn’t just about eating correctly though
Please Note: We are exercising. The Whole30 recommends laying low on exercise the first week because your body will be struggling with withdrawals etc. but, for various reasons, we’re continuing to push ourselves where we can. David’s training for his FIRST EVER FULL MARATHON coming this May. I’m doing yoga, running or zumba every other day in order to just help me relax.
SOOOOO how’s it going?
week 1 cons
- No…more…cookie…monster | My achille’s heel – sweets…chocolates. Goodbye. It was hard the first few days. Then, I thought I was fine until…in meetings…in social gatherings, people were bringing out their delicious, delectable, beautiful looking chocolates and sweets. Argh!!!
- Major carb withdrawals | David, in particular, is suffering from major carb withdrawals. He decided to gorge himself on carbs before starting the program so he enjoyed lots of pizzas and Carls Jr. Six Dollar Burgers before starting the Whole30. As a result (and the book talks about this), he’s faced dizziness, nausea, fatigue, strong cravings, and general blah the first 5 days or so. But just the past few days the symptoms are clearing away. (Avoid this in the future by slowly easing your way into Whole30 – which is what I did for the past 3 weeks or so prior so I didn’t have any carb withdrawals).
- Time commitment | It’s an investment of time to get rid of the bad stuff in your home. It’s an investment to figure out what’s the good stuff – to learn more about this world of organic, shopping, cooking, dishwashing. It’s an investment to learn what ingredients to look out for (and all the different terms that actually mean MSG or sugar – BLAH so many labels!). It truly is a commitment. I find myself with a copy of the book or notes from the Whole30 website by my side constantly.
- Mistakes | It’s really been more like Whole30 Week 1.5 – we’ve constantly found ourselves eating something we thought was fine, only to discover it was cooked in some type of oil we’re not allowed to have in our diet or with cream unknowingly, etc. That parts frustrating but you learn to REALLY read all ingredients – like a mad man.
- Hard to hang out | Every meeting, every party, every hangout usually has food you can’t eat…at all. That’s hard. But as long as you come prepared with eating beforehand, Whole30 approved snacks, and explanations for why you’re being so hard on yourself.. 🙂 you’ll be fine
- People may think you’re weird | There are plenty of conversations as to why you shouldn’t be doing this with the people around you. They’re of course understandable (heck, I was on that side of the fence not too long ago). But you’ll need to be strong if you’re a people pleaser.
- Are all the health issues gone? | Nope. Not expecting a miracle cure (okay hoping for one by eating correctly – but, heck, it’s week one. I had a lifetime of eating poorly. I’m willing to wait to see if this really works. It is called Whole30…not WholeWeek 1 after all).
week 1 pros
- Weight loss is already noticeable | David is NOT supposed to step on a scale. But he has been daily and reporting to me happily that, in this first week, he’s already lost 10 lbs. I know my clothes are looser and we’re getting compliments from people around us. It helps that we’re also working out but I’m actually starting to see definition in my abs – I NEVER thought I’d ever, ever see definition in my abs – ever.
- No more bloatedness or IBS | We don’t get the tight pants or uncomfortable stomach feeling after eating
- We know when we’re full and we can stop eating | When we’re full, we can tell we’re full and we don’t feel like we need to eat more. We’ve actually gone down to the 3 meals a day with a pre/post-workout snack.
- It is not as impossible as we thought | We could never have imagined giving up all those foods and actually enjoying what we eat. But so far, we have. And so far, we are.
if you want to check it out, there are more details behind The Whole30 here
want to follow us along in our daily Whole30 journey?
We’re instagramming via #parksgopaleo with our Whole30 journey here. Stay tuned for upcoming Whole30 Week posts!
With all our love,
The Parks (and baby Knightly)
our little cookie monster