Whole 30 : Week 1

Let me just start by saying this: My sister made me do it. The first time she asked me to join in her Whole 30 group, I said no. Hell no, actually. I’ve done diet plans before, and I’ve always had one of two results:

1. I go overboard, become borderline obsessive and it takes over my life (or)
2. I half-heartedly join in, then abandon the plan at the first sight (or smell) of pizza

For those of you who don’t know what Whole30 is, I’ll briefly explain. Whole 30 is a thirty day eating plan based on the book “It Starts with Food,” cutting out sugars, grains, dairy, and processed foods for the entire month. Taken directly from whole30.com :
“Cut out all the psychologically unhealthy, hormone-unbalancing, gut-disrupting, inflammatory food groups for a full 30 days. Let your body heal and recover from whatever effects those foods may be causing. Push the “reset” button with your metabolism, systemic inflammation, and the downstream effects of the food choices you’ve been making. Learn once and for all how the foods you’ve been eating are actually affecting your day to day life, and your long term health.” 

So what got me on board? I read more about it and heard the stories of other people, and there are a few things that set this plan apart. It’s not a quick solution, just a way to jump start healthier lifestyle choices. And what tipped the scales (literally), is that it isn’t just about the physical effects of following a healthy plan, it’s also about conquering the psychological aspects of eating like habits and cravings. We started September 1st, and I just finished my first week. As a lifelong stress eater, one of the first observations I’ve made is that Whole 30 seems to diminish many of my impulsive eating habits. I plan each meal and snack in advance which means that my food choices haven’t been dependent on or even linked to my emotions. And I have to say, that feels like a really good change. 

A few other observations from this week:
1. I am absolutely astounded by how much I miss bread. I had no idea how reliant I was on it, and going without it for just a few days has been tough, but I’m hopeful that this exercise will help decrease the cravings. Although lately I’m dreaming of eating PB&J sandwiches…
2. Everything, literally everything, has sugar in it. Please take this as a reminder to look at your food labels! I liked to think I was an educated shopper, but I’m still pretty surprised to find sweeteners in some pantry staples.
2. If you do this, expect weird side effects early on. Between my fellow week 1 friends, we’ve experienced everything from moodiness and headaches to fatigue, constipation, and oily skin. I guess it makes sense that initially breaking lifelong habits has manifested in crazy ways, so stay tuned for week 2!

On to more important things. The food! Here’s my favorite dessert/snack plate from this week.

Sweet & Salty Fig Plate

Sweet & Salty Fig Plate

10-12 fresh figs
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/4 salted pistachios
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 Tbsp cacao powder
1 Tbsp coconut oil
2 dates (Whole 30) or 1/2 tbsp maple syrup

Coconut flakes: (These are so good I eat them all by themselves!) Preheat oven to 300. Evenly spread the coconut flakes on a cookie sheet. Bake for 6 minutes, removing after 3 minutes to stir them. Allow to cool slightly and sprinkle with sea salt.

Cacao drizzle: Place dates in warm water and allow to soak for 30 minutes. Melt coconut oil in the microwave, and whisk together the oil, cacao powder, and maple syrup. If you’re sticking to Whole 30, soak dates in warm water for about an hour, or to speed up the process, microwave for about a minute. Blend with enough of the water until smooth.

Slice the figs in half and spread on a platter or plate. Drizzle the cacao over the figs, then top with toasted coconuts and pistachios. Cover and refrigerate or enjoy right away!