Hello Lovelies! I have finally decided to start the Whole 30 challenge for the first time and have committed to a start date of June 4th. I have done a lot of research and I am excited about the potential benefits of doing this nutrition challenge.
What is Whole 30, you may ask? It is a 30 day challenge of eating non-processed, clean, whole foods. The rules are strict- no grains, beans, sugar (or sugar replacements– even HONEY), alcohol, bread, or dairy products. You are supposed to eat foods with no added sugar, chemicals, and preferable grass fed meats and eggs. This challenge is high protein, carbs from vegetable sources, and healthy fats. It is similar to a paleo lifestyle- which I did for about a year- but it is more strict to jump start a healthy lifestyle change.
Why I am I wanting to do this craziness, you may ask? When I lived a paleo lifestyle I was the most energized I have ever felt. I was running ultra marathons, kickboxing, crossfit, and krav maga… all at the same time. I slept better and had fewer GI issues. I added grains back into my diet due to some recommendations when I started running more seriously and for speed. While I do agree that increasing my carb intake helped my endurance and speed, I have struggled with stomach pain, nausea, and some other issues since then off/on. While I really don’t eat a lot of processed food, sweets, or alcohol I am really concerned that these issues are either attributed to eating breads or dairy. This challenge is going to help me narrow down the culprit. Also, it will just help me start to think more about my nutrition in general since I have been in the habit of eating cereal for dinner on a regular lately.
But what about CARBS, you may ask?! Oh…. the joys of the running world. We LOVE our carbohydrates. However, most people forget that carbs can come from a lot of sources, including vegetables. On the whole 30 your carbohydrate sources include starchy veggies like potatoes (white or sweet), apples,plantains, etc. I will be eating plenty of carbohydrates from these sources to keep my energy levels up. For running snacks (fortunately I do not start full on marathon training until the end of June, so I won’t be doing long runs over 12 miles unless I just feel up for it) I will use the whole 30 recommendations of dried fruit during my long runs. I have actually done this before and it works fairly well for me. I have never used Gels (shocker) anyways due to getting searing stomach cramps during my long runs. I am usually a Gatorade drinker only, unless I do more than 20 miles, then I will add in real food like a banana or oranges during my runs. Most people do not realize how chemically ridden energy gels are to begin with. They have a high sugar content and require you to keep eating them every hour during a long run to avoid a “carb” crash. Using real food requires your body to use fats and proteins to burn energy – which sustains you over a longer period of time. Also, I know so many people who over use gels- I literally have some friends who eat them at work– I think they are just GROSS. When I am done with this challenge I will start using honey and 100% maple syrup packets during my longer runs instead of “sugary” products.
So, I’m anxiously counting down the next three weeks until I start my challenge. I have already started cutting out some of the items that I am not allowed to have- like extra sugar. I like giving myself time to get ready… I can meal plan for the thirty days and try some of the recipes out to make sure I will like them. Also, it gives me time to rid my house of all of my vices like oatmeal and the dark chocolate and peanut butter stash I keep for myself. Yes, In case you didn’t know peanuts are a bean- so they are out. I am making a major sad face for this one.
Have you done whole 30? Share your pointers or recipes here for me if you support my survival. During my challenge I will post my meals and thoughts daily so that if other people have been thinking of trying it- they can live vicariously through me for thirty days. So, look forward to reading my BLOG more!