The pizza is possibly the best I’ve ever had in my life. Ridiculously huge slices of thin crust, smothered with cheese melted to perfection and topped with crispy pepperonis. I close my eyes, mmm. I grab my glass of wine to take a swig and wash it down. Usually I would savor this type of epic food experience, but I start to push the pizza aside, because I already have my eyes on the brownie fudge sundae just out of reach…
“That’s not Paleo.”
What? I look at the sundae with my mouth agape. No f’ing way was this happening.
Slow realization washes over me, then horror. The Whole30. I fucked up.
It was all for nothing. You’re going to have to start over.
My scream echoes into the night as I awake soaked in sweat, gasping for breath.
The Whole 30: WTF?
If you’re wondering “WTF is the Whole30?” you’re not alone. Click here. I’ll wait.
In gist, it’s a 30-day strict Paleo detox. The creators, Dallas and Melissa Hartwig, wrote the New York Times bestselling book It Starts With Food, which goes much further in depth about the “why” than I will in this blog post. You’re encouraged to eat “real” food, banning all processed crap from your life, and instantly annoying everyone who tries to cook for you. No wheat. No dairy (even whey, meatheads). No added sugar. No legumes. No booze.
You might be thinking, That’s ok. I could live on Paleo cupcakes if I had to! Not so fast, Caveman Martha Stewart. Quit fooling yourself. It not only tastes nothing like a real cupcake, it’s considered SWYPO: “Sex With Your Pants On“. You’re simply swapping one bad behavior for another, therefore negating the psychological benefits of the detox. Don’t be delusional. Eventually you’re going to want to have pants-off sex. With a real cupcake. So no agave. No honey. Toss the stevia. Put it back in your… pants? I honestly don’t know where that whole metaphor was going.
I’m not trying to lose weight. I actually am in the process of re-gaining the 17 pounds I lost after tearing my ACL. I’m already hungry all the freaking time. But I thought this was the time to try the Whole30 for a few reasons:
- My sugar cravings were out of control. I’m all for a guilt-free cookie now and again. But I was getting to the point I’d need sweets a couple times a day. And if I didn’t get it, it was all I could think about, and would get incredibly irritable. Even more so than I usually am. When I finally caved and slammed a massive bag of dark chocolate almonds, it didn’t taste nearly as good as I’d hoped. Lame!
- I believe my body is a scientific experiment. And so is yours. You owe it to yourself to do your research, try out different things, and see what works for you. The point of the Whole30 is not to do it in perpetuity, but to detox for a month, then add things back in slowly to see what you truly do and do not tolerate. (I once tried to be a vegan. I made it 9 months, and I’ve never been less healthy in my life. But at least I won’t have to wonder.) I also wondered, would I get weaker or atrophy into a stick figure, as so many anti-Paleo zealots would have you think? Only one way to find out.
- Walking the walk. I have dozens upon dozens of athletes who are trying to get their eating habits under control. Who am I to tell them about macros or inflammatory foods if I have no idea how hard it is to detox? I also saw an opportunity to work on my parents’ eating habits from across the country. It’s something we could do together, even though it’s really an immensely selfish endeavor: I want them around a long time.
For now, I’ll leave the “results/ how I feel” breakdown for a subsequent post. Teaser: It’s been quite the roller coaster of a month for me. I’m ready to be done thinking about food this much. And especially dreaming about it.
P.S. Come to find out, my borderline porny dream about cheat foods is completely normal, according to The Whole30 Timeline.