Whole 30 Day 1 (Hello 2014, Goodbye 2013!)

Can't believe it's time to say Hello 2014, Goodbye 2013!

Hello Whole30, Goodbye holiday food.

Hello super tasty, homemade, natural food! Goodbye processed-carb-laden junk food. (good riddance!)

Goodbye feeling sluggish in the mornings and in the afternoons, hello energy!

Goodbye unwanted pounds and inches, hello goal weight! (fingers crossed)

We had a great first day of our Whole30 today! We both had the day off, which was nice but also a little sad because it was our last scheduled day off until who knows when. We are thankful for our jobs, but we aren't exactly looking forward to the piles of work we have waiting for us after all our holiday time off.

Since we barely made it to midnight on NYE, following a date night to the movies and a late dinner, we took the liberty to sleep in and take the morning easy. Loren made us a pot of coffee while I made us green smoothies for breakfast.

Two things noteworthy about this:
1. Whole30 rules don't exactly endorse smoothies for meals because they are often laden with sugar and can be calorie dense without providing much nutrition or satiety. However, the smoothies I make (I will post the recipe soon) are PACKED with vegetables and I only use 6 strawberries, 1 small organic banana, and 6 cubes of frozen pineapple in a huge batch of smoothie (makes two extremely generous portions). So it's the equivalent of about 1 serving of fruit and the rest is veggies. We definitely wouldn't eat the same amount of veggies for breakfast otherwise. Plus it makes both of us very full for hours.

2. Last year, the worst and hardest part about our first Whole30 was changing the way we drink coffee. We used to go through multiple huge bottles of sugar-free coffee creamer every month. Last January, we tolerated coconut milk in our coffee, but never loved it. However, after January, sugar-free coffee creamer tasted like chemical death to me. Literally couldn't stand it any more. So...I taught myself to enjoy coffee black. (It definitely helped that my husband started roasting his own coffee and it is the best-tasting coffee ever, especially black) Eventually we discovered organic half&half, which is hands down the best way to drink coffee ever. But I actually find myself enjoying coffee black more and more and wanting to have the full flavor without anything added. I'm officially an adult, folks.

So needless to say, the coffee portion of this year's Whole30 is about 300x easier than last year because I do not have the burden of coffee creamer weighing me down!

For lunch and dinner, I made a big portion of this BBQ Beef Casserole that was seriously delicious. The only thing I did different from the recipe was drizzle the sweet potatoes in melted ghee instead of butter (since technically we aren't supposed to consume butter because it's a dairy product.)

I also cleaned out our pantry and fridge from food we can't have for the month and put it all in a box in the storage room. Always an interesting experiment seeing what kind of food you've got lurking in your pantry. I have an impressive amount of natural sweeteners, I discovered. Mostly honey, in my defense. But I know it will be so good for us to cut out all sugars for awhile and remind ourselves that we can, in fact, live without treats - even Paleo ones.

Honestly, I have not even one ounce of dread about this Whole30. Last year I was excited and determined, but it was rough and I felt kind of clueless and unprepared most of the month. Around the halfway point I really started to get a grasp on how it all worked, and how to eat enough to make yourself full, and to not be afraid of eating fat, and how to plan meals that were compliant. It was a great first round, and looking back it launched me into some of the most significant lifestyle changes I've ever made.

Not only did eating Paleo help me to lose almost another 20 pounds in 2013, it completely changed the way I look at food: through the lens of nutrition. I can honestly say I haven't counted calories in over a year, and yet have continued to lose weight eating real, whole foods. Consuming only small amounts of high quality dairy, and eliminating processed sugars and flours. I truly don't feel deprived - even when confronted with decadent desserts, because I have chosen to eat this way and I know what those things taste like. And unfortunately, I know what they make me feel like and it is not worth it. I am fully satisfied with the whole, natural foods I choose to eat, and very rarely want to go indulge in junk food because I'm so aware of how bad they are for my body.

I know I can  have any and all food. It's my choice. I can have a cupcake or a bag of cheetos or pizza anytime I want.  But I don't want it. That is a huge and important shift in thinking if you want any kind of sustainable diet change. I know how eating a bunch of processed flour and sugar makes me feel (=terrible) and I don't want to feel like that. I would rather not eat it and feel clean and healthy than eat it and feel bloated and greasy and wake up the next morning feeling sluggish and slow and gross.

So if you're ready to say "Hello" to better health and nutrition, and whole foods and "Goodbye" to processed, chemically-enhanced, zero nutrient junk food - you can start today! Take baby steps or take one giant leap into eating clean. You will be seriously amazed at how great you feel and how many health issues can be resolved and healed through food. God gave us bodies that are miraculous machines; they will start to tell us if our diet is hurting them, but by God's grace, they will also start to heal when we feed them the right things.

Happy January 1, 2014 to you!