Folks who know me know how much I enjoy eating, especially eating a wide variety of produce, meats, grains, dairy products, and fruits. They've also heard me carry on a bit over how much better I feel when I stay as gluten-free as possible (no wheat, barley or rye, including what gets snuck into packaged foods and condiments). But when they heard recently that I planned to try this experiment in eating with no added sugars, no dairy, no grains, and no legumes, responses ranged from 'call me when you're done' to 'you're going to starve.'
To be honest, the prospect of dropping that many ingredients from my normal repetoire really scared me. But I had been wondering a couple things over the last year or two:
- How could I control or eliminate my rosacea (burny, bumpy splotchy face) without drugs?
- If cutting way back on gluten helped so much, what other keys to my health might be hiding in my everyday food choices?
So I looked at how attached I was to certain food habits - milk in my tea, gluten-free toast for a bedtime snack, peanut butter on my afternoon apple, a breakfast Clif bar at the office, and of course rice, potatoes, and corn with practically everything. I took a few steps that couldn't possibly hurt, without actually committing to them. Skipped the little bit of alcohol I was drinking (half a beer is a lot for me), tried my tea sans milk, etc. But going whole hog still seemed very daunting. What would I eat, and could my reduced ingredient list possibly keep me happy?
While waiting for It Starts with Food to become available to me (thank you, Seattle Public Library!) I researched recipes. Lots and lots of dishes sounded yummy. Especially if you put them over rice - oops. Finding and testing a grain-free bread recipe helped boost my confidence greatly, because it turned out better, easier and cheaper than any gluten-free bread we've bought or made at home, so far. So, OK, I could make enough meals with enough variety to keep from getting hungry, cranky and inclined to quit before finding the answers I wanted out of this investment of 30 days of my food-loving life.
The book, written by the couple who created the Whole 30 and run the Whole9 website, explains their research and opinions about why some foods are worth eating, some not, and some just likely to be problematic for many people. Not looking to be 100% convinced, I was more impressed than I expected. It's well explained and documented, and all the propositions are plausible. It was more than enough to keep me from my fall-back plan of taking some suggestions and leaving the rest to the believers. Nope. For 30 days, I would try my best to go the whole nine yards.
So that's the why. I'll be writing more soon on the how, and whatever ups and downs this ride may entail. Will try to include photos with those posts. Stay tuned!