The alternative title for this post was, ‘I ate an avocado every day for a month. Here’s what happened.’
No grains, dairy, sugar, alcohol or legumes for a month and how am I celebrating? With a big warm bowl of oats, of course.
I am surprised by what I missed the most. I was craving the grains and beans that were once a staple in my diet more than chocolate and cheese. Which I did not expect.
This season of fasting has been a bit of an eye opener. I’ve learned a lot, including things I did not expect. Habits I’ve spent a lifetime forming have been brought into question and I’m feeling more in tune to the needs of my body beyond just food and nutrition. I’ve collected my thoughts and am sharing them with you in the hopes that you would be inspired to try something you don’t think is possible.
I actually don’t need sugar.
Yep. And I am now one of those weird ‘eats fruit for desserts’ people. You will never understand how sweet a date can taste until you give up sugar for a month. Am I giving it up permanently? No. But I don’t need it every day like I once thought and can save my indulgence for treats that I truly crave.
There was something liberating in saying, ‘No.’
Before the Whole30 if my husband asked, ‘Can we have pizza for dinner?’ I was sometimes unsure. I wouldn’t always actually want pizza but for the sake of convenience I would acquiesce. When the question was brought up during the Whole30, I could say with confidence, ‘No.’ It was off the table, not an option. Sorry, Jay.
I wasn’t wavering in my decisions about food and that was nice. If a coworker brought in donuts, I wouldn’t have to play, ‘Do I actually want a donut or do I just feel obligated to eat one?’ I knew the rules, I planned ahead, and that was it.
I feel more in tune to what I actually want. I know I have the power pass on a donut in the conference room and I know I can enjoy one when I truly feel like it.
I still had days I felt like crap
And that’s ok. While I believe diet can affect the way we feel, there are certainly other factors that come into play. Halfway through the Whole30 I found myself with a migraine and I couldn’t blame cheese or chocolate. A poor nights sleep and lack of water was more than likely the cause.
Eating better is only a part of feeling my best. Eliminating certain foods has helped me identify other factors that determine my well being. Taking care of myself may start with a cleaner diet, but I also need to be sure to get plenty of rest, drink enough water, and stay relaxed in order to feel my best.
That being said, I no longer feel a need to hyper manage my diet. Yes, eating whole, real foods is good and makes me feel great but it isn’t everything in my health and wellness journey. And I’m not going to permanently deprive myself of bagels, chocolate, and other foods I love, especially if they don’t wreck me the same way a bad nights sleep will.
Hormones Are in Check
When it comes to PMS, I am usually a wreck. Anxiety grips me every waking moment and I spend the week on the verge of a migraine. At the end of the month, I had almost no anxiety and my usual head aches were almost non existent. I didn’t even realize how off balance my hormones were. Even my typical acne that pops up around that time made a minimal appearance.
I feel good. I believe in the benefit of elimination diets and giving your body a restart is sometimes necessary. I don’t think staying on the Whole30 is sustainable for my lifestyle, but I will keep in check my intake of sweets and dairy as I believe those may have been the culprit for my less-than-clear skin and hormonal imbalances.
Finally, I feel in control. I crave healthy foods and I know when it’s time for a treat.
So for my first non-compliant meal, I’m going with oatmeal. Equal parts oats, water, shredded beets, and coconut milk get combined on the stove top over gently heat then mixed with maple syrup and topped with blackberries, blood orange slices, almond butter, and chia seeds.
Hearty, warm, and so so delicious. A perfect way to ease back into the grains I missed so much.
As challenging as it was, I’m glad I did it. If you’ve ever done any kind of elimination diet, you know the struggle is real, but you also probably know so is the reward. I’d love to hear about your experience and what you’ve learned. Tell me about it in the comments below!
Coconut Beet Oatmeal with Blackberries
- 1/3 Cup Rolled Oats
- 1/3 Cup Coconut Milk (whole fat or light, I used light)
- 1/3 Cup Water
- 1/3 Cup Shredded Beets
- 1-2 Tbsp Maple Syrup (optional, I left it out)
- Blood Orange
- 1 Tbsp Almond Butter
- Chia Seeds
Add the oats, coconut milk, water, and beets to a medium sauce pan. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook for about 5 minutes, adding more water if necessary. Pour the oats into a bowl and top with blackberries, blood orange, almond butter, and chia seeds. Serve warm and enjoy!