My "Whole30" State of the Union Address

By Hannah Lenore Gray

Red cabbage, kale and coleslaw salad with tangy ginger dressing. A similar recipe may be found here. 

Red cabbage, kale and coleslaw salad with tangy ginger dressing. A similar recipe may be found here

Welcome back to my Whole30 journey. I am currently halfway through the program with the light at the end of the tunnel growing brighter with each passing day. Here’s what I’ve learned since Day One.

Eating out is hard. I spent the weekend in Nashville and packed my purse with multiple avocados, whipping one out to spruce up my sad, lonely piece of grilled chicken or hamburger patty at each establishment I visited. My little brother would sit across from me at every restaurant, noshing on pizza or fries, as if he wanted to torture me. In other news, we’re estranged now.

Some things I expected, others I did not. For example, I was warned I would be cranky and irritable in the middle of this thing. But I was not warned that I would be itchy. And not just a little scratchy, but ITCHY, as in, name a body part and I’ve already applied copious amounts of cortisone cream to soothe it. This predicament means all those nasty toxins are leaving my body, which is kind of the point of this program, I guess, though that doesn’t make it less of an annoyance.

I was also not aware that my nights would be plagued by nightmares. And by nightmares I mean that my dreams feature me accidentally eating a noncompliant Whole30 food or ingredient. I often wake up in a cold sweat thinking I have to start the 30 days all over again. It’s exhausting and absolutely terrifying. The thought of starting over from the very beginning and distancing myself even further from by beloved goat cheese or tortilla chips is something I don’t even want to think about.

But alas, I persevere. For all my complaints, I am actually noticing progress. My skin hasn’t been this clear since before puberty, and I feel more focused and determined to see this program through, regardless of the negative side effects (I deal with those by complaining, as you may see above). Another cosmetic bonus is that I feel like I’ve lost weight (Whole30 prefers adherents not to weigh themselves until after completing the program). Furthermore, my stomach has settled. I’m enjoying the freedom that comes with eating a meal without worrying it will wreak havoc on my digestive system.

I’ve also learned a lot. These days, I consider myself somewhat of a pioneer woman. I make my own almond or cashew milk like nobody’s business, squeezing out a couple jars a week. My mom says it tastes good, which is all the praise I need. And it feels so nice to know that what I’m consuming is as natural and unprocessed as it gets.

Pictured here is enough almond milk to sustain a small country. I followed this recipe minus the cinnamon. 

Pictured here is enough almond milk to sustain a small country. I followed this recipe minus the cinnamon. 

Now that I’m over the hump, I am starting a list of things I want to eat in roughly two weeks time. This is probably inadvisable but we all have our coping methods and this is mine. Cheese tops the list. It tops every list in my life. But above all else, I have to remember one thing: I still have my coffee, and with it, I can tackle anything.