'Last October, I took a memorable trip over to Oktoberfest in Germany with my old college roommate. We survived off of the Germans' three main food groups: bread (from the pretzels), protein (from the pork knuckles), and alcohol (from the liter steins of bier). I'm sure you could image how my body responded to that infamous trip... Not very well! I decided to counter the seemingly endless hangover with a diet called Whole30, and now I'm doing it again as a grand entrance into the new year. Outside of the obvious health benefits, here is what I learned from my last Whole30 endeavor:
1. We are habitual grocery shoppers
Next time you go to the grocery store, take note of what you purchase and compare those items with your last trip's items. If you are anything like me (and the rest of America), you probably had a similar list of items in your grocery cart.. and always have. It is much easier to aimlessly wander the store and grab familiar items than it is to consciously choose a healthy diet. How often do you cook the same easy meal? There is nothing wrong with it, but it is also beneficial to try out a new lifestyle every once in a while. When I decided to attempt the Whole30 diet, it forced me to look up new recipes, change my unknown shopping habits, and simply eat healthier.
2. "Discipline Equals Freedom" - Jocko Willink
The more that you can learn to say "NO" to the every day temptations of life, the more you will reap the benefits of a quality lifestyle. This is true to everything in life, but since food is our 3rd most vital resource to survival (behind air and water), the results tend to show up much faster. It might feel good to "go with the wind" and eat whatever looks good, but you will eventually begin to feel bloated, lose quality sleep, and gain weight. By learning to say no to sugar, dairy, and alcohol for one month, I was able to learn the power of "no" in other areas of my life as well. I might have thought I needed to have a drink when I was out with friends, but I survived and had a good time anyway. I might have thought I needed that funny Trump piñata on Amazon, but I survived and had a good time without it anyway. (although it is still on my wishlist).
3. Mental Clarity
Our bodies are not accustomed to eating processed foods, even if they are FDA approved. With the growing demand to feed larger civilizations, the best solution is to mass-manufacture food and invent chemicals to preserve their lifetime. When we eat natural and whole foods, we are eating what our ancestors have always eaten. When we eat unnatural and processed foods, our bodies become confused and try to adapt to this foreign matter. This results in sluggishness, lack of clarity, and many other unknown effects. After eating only whole foods for 30 days straight, I noticed that not only did my eyesight improve, but my vision on LIFE became clearer as well.
As much as I would like to claim that I'm a professional on this topic, I am way better at running than I am at ripping on the FDA.
4. You're Not Going Crazy
As crazy as it sounds to cut out sugar, dairy, alcohol, and everything else in the Whole30 diet, I guarantee you will see a difference in your quality of life. You will see improvements in your health, relationships, finances, sleep-schedule, and many other areas. Here is a link to their website; they have a ton of recipes, tips, and motivational blogs to learn how to thrive on the diet. Also, I don't recommend doing it alone. Find an accountability partner to smack those chocolate pretzels out of your hand when the withdrawals kick in on week 2!
"This company and website was created to help share my dream of living 'naturally high' to the world. I currently reside in Chicago and love nothing more than a good competition on race day. You can either find me going for a run on Lake Shore Trail, at a Purdue football game, or at a local coffee shop writing these articles. I want to thank you for checking out the website and helping this movement grow!"