I discussed completing a Whole30 ( wp.me/p1N36Q-ij
) with my husband, and he was certainly open to the idea. I assumed he would balk at the thought of giving up alcohol during football season – but that wasn’t what worried him the most. Nor was it giving up sugar (although he did object a bit at giving up sugar substitutes).
It was giving up the wheat – and all the fun things that go along with it – that he thought might be the most problematic.
“So… what CAN you eat?” he asked.
“Meat and vegetables.” I could see his demeanor visibly change at the thought of eating spinach for 30 days straight, so I shared with him how we’d have to focus on preparing delicious meals using healthy fats, that maybe we should look into options for getting good quality meats, and asked him to read It Starts with Food after I finish it.
We started talking about when a good time to do it might be, and I explained how I thought maybe it would be best to wait until after the holidays, but then he reminded me about a cruise we’re taking in January. “I guess there never really is a perfect time to do this,” I said. “Isn’t that kind of the point?” he responded. “It’s always going to be hard to do.”
Hmm. He’s certainly on to something there…
So why do a Whole30? According to the book, our problem(s) starts with overconsumption of nutrient-poor foods because of their psychological effects on us. This then leads to hormonal, gut, and immune system disruption – and all of the symptoms, conditions, and diseases that follow. We overconsume to begin with because sweet, fatty, and salty tastes send reward signals to the brain – we needed this to find the right nutrition to survive in nature. But now, these flavors are unnaturally concentrated in food – a phenomenon they describe as “food-with-no-brakes.” We get all the reward signals to keep us overeating, but none of the satiety signals to tell us to stop because there’s no nutritional value to what we’re eating. These foods rewire the brain to promote hard-to-resist cravings – and our stressful lives only reinforce these patterns.
It makes a great deal of sense to me. The proponents of the Whole30 suggest that it’s an opportunity to change these habits by reconnecting delicious, rewarding food with the nutrition and satiety that nature intended.
I still can’t tell you when we’re going to start though…