Tuesday, March 4, 2014

One week to go.

Salami & eggs w/ clarified butter-sautéed broccoli & carrots. // My salad from our Bunco party! // Coconut curry beef stew. // Rotisserie chicken & grilled veggies (courtesy of Lee & his new barbecue). // Eggs over medium w/ zucchini & broccoli. // Pork stir-fry w/ spinach & spicy bean salad.// Shredded chicken & sweet potato hash with creamy tomatillo dressing & salad w/ salsa.

After I finished my first week of this Whole30, I felt like the next three weeks of eating differently would feel like an eternity. But now here I am, a week away from finishing! And I am happy to say that it hasn't been nearly as terrible as I expected. Sure, I missed alcohol (still do) but eliminating it from my diet for 30 days has been a small sacrifice in exchange for what I learned about how and why I eat the way that I do and then understanding how that food affects me physiologically and, more interestingly, psychologically.

I promise that this Whole30 talk will come to an end soon.

After describing what the Whole30 entails, a few of my friends said that they couldn't do it because of..... fill in the blank. I heard a lot of, "I just couldn't give up cheese!" or "Coffee without sugar?! No way." I'll be honest... when I first heard about the Whole30 after my friend Ashlan finished one (her third, I think?), I thought the same! I just didn't think that I had the willpower to abstain from sugary and processed foods. But I surprised myself! And then I read this interesting article from the Whole30 creators about why they believe it is easier for our brains to make major changes versus small changes when trying to form new habits.

In the brain: big changes are easier. You’ve probably already tried to live by the “everything in moderation” principle, right? But moderation is really hard for the brain to manage when you’re trying to form a new habit. (This is especially true when some of the things we’re trying to eliminate have a serious mental hold on us… like sugar and carbs.) The Whole30 is a big, radical change—but one that is far easier for the brain to grasp than moderation. Why? No more decisions. Whew! The brain has a hard time with uncertainty, and when faced with too much, it tends to revert back to what it’s always done—the path of least resistance. So every decision (should I eat the cookie, should I have a second glass of wine, should I go for the healthy chicken breast or indulge in the pizza?) means… uncertainty. And for your brain, too much of that means you go back to old, unhealthy food habits. The Whole30 takes that uncertainty away from you. We tell you exactly what kinds of foods to eat, and we say you should eat NONE of these other, unhealthy foods. No decision-making required; if it’s on your ‘no’ list, you simply don’t indulge. And that makes the brain happy, which makes your transition to healthier habits easier.

This concept became totally clear to me as I served my friends some of the foods on my 'no-list' at our monthly Bunco party. It wasn't a struggle because I'd made up my mind that I wasn't eating rice/beans/cheese/Cadbury mini-eggs/cro-liners and so when faced with them, I felt no inner turmoil about whether or not I should have just a bite or only a little handful.

And I am a self-professed candy addict! At least I used to be.

For some reason, the way that people eat can be a hot-button issue for a lot of people, especially if it differs drastically from how you chose to eat. As a former vegetarian, I used to get earfuls from meat-eaters as to why I should eat the way that they do despite not instigating any sort of argument as to them becoming a vegetarian themselves. And my blogging about doing the Whole30 isn't an attempt to tell you that this is how you should eat!! I am merely trying to document my experience and encourage thought and conversation with those that chose to read about how food affects us, either positively or negatively.

Hopefully you've found my journey interesting or insightful or inspiring! In the very least, hopefully you've enjoyed my gratuitous photos of the meals that I've eaten.

What was the last meal that you cooked that you were really proud of? I was pretty proud of my Bunco meal! And a close second would be that shredded chicken and sweet potato hash. I could eat that every single day.

Creamy tomatillo dressing. Delicious! Recipe to come later in the week.


  1. No you have to keep talking about it and posting your amazing food! I wish I could try the 30 days but I don't think my doctor would allow me to give up any food group right now or do something that would that drastically shake up my system while I'm pregnant. But I really want to try it after the baby arrives and things settle down. I cook every meal when I'm home on maternity leave (gotta love the Canadian 1 year off with your job protected). So if I forget PLEASE remind me about this program in September after I can try something like this again!

    I admire you doing this and I want to try it so much because if you can kick candy so can I!!

  2. Oh my word, those meals look amazing! Great job, Briana!

  3. Your meals do look amazing. For me, I would happy eating those meals - but I want you to come over and prepare them for me ;) Part of me eating carbs/dairy, etc is because it's easy.

    What you said about moderation really has me thinking, as I am usually a person that subscribes to that theory.

  4. Again I will say... Please start a business. Making meals for people who want to try the Whole30 program. I know I would pay 'extra' for everything. AND I'm sure others would too. Great job, one more week! xo

  5. I've really enjoyed reading about your whole 30 experience. The meals do look yummy but do they take a while to prepare?

    The other night I made a raw brussel sprout salad and it was really yummy. Just dice the Brussel sprouts up finely, add some coriander, spring onion & baby spinach then use lemon juice, a teaspoon of soy and a few drops of sesame oil for the dressing. I never like brussel sprouts no matter how they are cooked but this was nice. The recipe is from the Michelle Bridges Super foods cookbook. I thought i should go beyond the normal and try something I wouldn't normally try and it paid off. Delicious.


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