Monday, January 5, 2015

Cutting Down on Sugar {Whole 30 Eve}

Here we are. The eve of my second Whole30 experience.

In the summer of 2014 I participated in my first Whole30 {learn more about the Whole30 program- click here}. We had gotten to this foggy, sugar-driven place in our eating habits and decided to give it a go. I had read the book It Starts With Food so we were prepared for the first few weeks... which were difficult. But eventually we felt loads better - sugar cravings had lessened and my head was so clear. At the end of the thirty days we gladly tried the reintroduction schedule and found that certain food groups treated our bodies differently.

For the weeks following we kept pretty on top of what we were eating. We of course had a few meals that consisted of choices we weren't proud of but we were keeping it in check. Then we slowly slipped back into several bad habits that were coming up more often than "just once in awhile" {gluten, sweet coffees + treats}. All of a sudden we were cranky and creaky {I had forgotten how stiff I can be when I wake up in the morning!} and sugar was dictating our eating schedule. It was time to try a new round of Whole 30.

I thought I'd take a moment to remind myself {and anyone else trying a Whole30 diet} what I learned from our first run through of the program:

:: get enough sleep ::
Sleeping seven or eight hours is a must for me. It helps with staying on the diet and making appropriate food choices. It also keeps me from crying when I just really want a cookie.

:: drink enough water ::
This is a similar note as getting enough sleep. I could just tell the days when my body was tired or dehydrated. Feeling refreshed, rested and quenched was critical to keeping positive each day.

:: drink more water ::
Yes, it is this important. Keep drinking water. I was filtering water, drinking ice water, drinking hot water and even making jars of infused water to keep it interesting {I tried many different fruit or vegetable + herb combinations - similar to this}

:: find a cravings replacement ::
Sometimes those cravings hit hard. You know how it goes - four o'clock and all you want is a little special snack to get you to dinner. Or a certain taste goes with a certain activity {example: backyard fire + s'mores} It was crucial for me to find appropriate replacements. Like... I love sweet coffee drinks when we go for a long drive. So for me making cold brew coffee at home to take in the car was the next best thing. I actually love cold brew coffee now and will sometimes pass up an iced mocha just to have one. {To be Whole30 compliant I was drinking it black - just over ice} A few replacements that worked for me:
- infused water
- hot tea
- iced, black + cold brewed coffee {here is a great post about making cold brew coffee at home}
- homemade + oven roasted sweet potatoes
- apple slices + almond butter
- dill pickles {watch those labels if you're shopping for this!!}

:: prepare some approved meals + snacks ahead of time ::
Preparation is key. We have started setting aside Sunday afternoons for cooking and preparing several lunches and one or two dinners just to make sure we are ahead of the game. If we come home {hungry and tired} to nothing even remotely prepared that was when it took real gumption to push through and make a Whole30 approved meal.  You can always restock your 'already cooked meal' after you eat. That way when tomorrow comes around you'll be ready.

:: find entertainment that will not tempt you to stray from your food goals ::
The reason I have and am about to make these very calculated food choices is because it makes my body and mind feel right. Better than my usual normal. It is easy to talk yourself out of making proper food choices in a weak moment. I knew that on my weaker days it was better to not even tempt myself at all. For example we went to a coffee shop instead of meeting friends at our local brewery - talking over drinks still happened, just a different location.

:: bring your own food if needed/possible ::
We often brought salads {with lemon wedges for dressing} to parties and cook outs. Especially if we weren't sure what was going to be served. Just bring something large enough and plated in a way that it can be shared - surely your host won't mind. We would also bring approved food choices for in the car incase we were still hungry after going to a restaurant that had limited choices for us.

So here I venture into a second Whole30- early to bed, multiple bottles of water in the fridge and cold coffee brewing...

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