Over the past year, I gained some weight. It happens to the best of us. My job can be quite stressful, and I had stopped paying attention to or taking care of myself. Suddenly the scale had increased by double digits and I was getting more and more depressed and unhappy. My body hurt, I wasn’t sleeping, and I didn’t enjoy anything about my incredibly wonderful life. Once I realized how far my unhappiness had spread, I knew I had to do something about it. How could I bring happiness to those around me when I couldn’t even make myself happy? It wasn’t anyone else’s job. So, I set out to find my own happy. And Whole30 changed my life.
I walked up behind my director on a photo shoot one day and she turned around and said, “What are you eating?” without missing a beat I replied, “My feelings.” (it was actually a very delicious cookie, and probably my 3rd since lunch that day.) So, obviously, the first logical stop was my physical health. I have always had suspicions I was allergic or intolerant to milk, so for years I had reduced my intake of cheese and dairy products and switched completely to almond milk. But you know what tastes really good after a bad day? Queso. Especially if there were more cookies to be found for dessert.
I had a friend who was in the middle of her Whole30 journey and one day I (rudely) asked “Goodness! What CAN you eat?!”. Her response? “Silly girl! I can eat every kind of meat, fruits, vegetables, and all nuts except peanuts.” After hearing it put that way, it didn’t seem so bad. So, I began to research – it is, after all, what I do best.
I picked possibly the worst time of my work-year to start Whole30. Week 2 I would be in the office with boxed lunches and dinners provided all week, and then weeks 3 and 4 I would be traveling. We would be working 14-18 hour days with breakfast, lunch, and dinner catered for 14 days straight. Even worse, I wasn’t the one in charge of planning the meals anymore! So, I went to Target, bought a cooler and some ice packs, and I carried my food with me every day for the entire trip. Airports and all.
I did it. I completed all 30 days. Some nights I was even skipping to the cars when everyone else on our crew was exhausted and sick and tired of my optimism. I think I basically pranced around the photo shoots for 14 days like Anna singing “For The First Time In Forever” in the movie Frozen.
In the end, it was a test of faith and friendship. My friends and family had jokes, but they had equal amounts of love and support. I learned that I don’t have to have a cookie (or three) when I have a bad day. I also learned that I am allergic to milk and legumes, and sensitive to gluten. But I will admit, after not having those things for 30 days, it wasn’t that hard to say goodbye. Plus, without these foods, my body had completely transformed. My skin was glowy and clear, I could sleep through the night, and my body became a lot leaner. I felt clean and motivated. It was worth it.
I had no idea that for more than 30 years I had been feeling miserable every day and just thought it was normal! I have incredible energy now and a new love of life. Whole30 changed everything. I have a passion for cooking and am starting to feel amazing in my own skin again. I’ve got my groove back and definitely feel like I’m on the road to finding my happy.
Now, when people ask about my new lifestyle, I respond to inquisitive minds the way Mel responded to me – I can eat all meat, fruits, vegetables, and nuts except peanuts. That is what I will provide with any recipes I post on this blog. Recipes with no dairy, legumes, or gluten, that will both satisfy you and make the non-believers in your life think they are eating something delicious (and maybe even a bit naughty). Because that’s all any of us really want anyway. 😉
Interested in Whole30? Try my Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup Recipe!