Hi Everyone, I hope your week is off to a good start!
I wanted to write today about food and healthy eating.
My sister in law recently turned me on to Whole 3o. The authors of this plan have some good books that talk about nutrition in general, as well as the problem foods that effect most people. I decided not to take the Whole 30 challenge, but reading about it made me look at my diet, and helped me make some positive changes.
If you want to try it, you are supposed to avoid a few things…For 30 days!
Added sugar (does not include fresh fruit)
Legumes (beans, soy and peanuts)
Dairy (milk products)
Grains (gluten and gluten free)
This is a seriously tough order, and I didn’t think I could do it. However, reading about the program and the testimonials about how people turned their health around was inspiring.
I knew that Americans (including me) ate way too much sugar, so first I looked up the guidelines for added sugar online. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the maximum amount of added sugars you should eat in a day:
Men: 150 calories per day (37.5 grams or 9 teaspoons)
Women: 100 calories per day (25 grams or 6 teaspoons)
That means that when I cream and sugar my morning coffee I’ve already had half of my sugar for the day! That was a sobering realization that had me checking labels like crazy. I did actually give up all sugar, including fruit, for a few days and immediately felt less bloated. It’s kind of magical if you can do it.
Next I avoided legumes, no problem there, since I don’t really like them anyway. I tried substituting almond butter for peanut butter and it worked pretty well. That seemed like a non-issue.
Next I considered dairy…I mean, who doesn’t like cheese and ice cream? My motto at Starbucks is that if they ask if you want whipped cream on that, the answer should always be YES!
I really didn’t think I had any issues with dairy, but I spent a few days avoiding it, just to test the theory. Then I ate a cup of ice cream. I was pretty annoyed when I got a stomach ache! Evidently I do have a problem with dairy…so sad. I’m going to miss that whipped cream, darn it!
Grains? Well, I already knew I was sensitive to gluten and even eating too much rice (gluten free) made me sluggish. So, I just made a concerted effort to limit grains, and if I planned to cheat, I ate whole grain corn or rice. That plan has been working out pretty well for me. Although, I’ve heard a lot of bad stuff about corn, sigh…
Last but not least, the major food group known as alcohol! Most alcohol also has grain and sugar in it, so it’s a complex whammy for your system (maybe.) I wrote a post last year about giving up alcohol because my dear old body can’t take it anymore. Since I’ve been avoiding it, even having one beer gives me a tummy ache. Oh well…that’s definitely related to aging for me. You young whipper snappers out there might still be able to indulge responsibly!
Moral of the story, following Whole 30 was too hard for me, but I could test the various food groups over a couple of days. It gave me a much clearer idea about what makes me feel happy and energetic and what doesn’t.
If you aren’t feeling your optimal best, I recommend running a few experiments on yourself. Even 3 or 4 days away from a certain food group may show you a reaction, which is knowledge for moving forward.
And, always, always, get enough sleep and go out there and exercise. If you combine rest, exercise and foods your body can really use for fuel, you’ll feel like a million bucks.
By the way, another “diet” book I refer to on a regular basis is the Eat right 4 your type. It explains why some people can eat dairy and grains and some people can’t. I found it really helpful.
Thanks for checking in!