It’s a NEW Season, time for a NEW Challenge…

Who doesn’t love a challenge?

Well, I guess there are a lot of people out there that would easily pass on a health challenge but I’m sure not one of them!

Here is why I am choosing to participate in the Whole 30 Program:

I’ve been gluten and refined sugar-free for almost five years now but in 2009, despite my squeaky clean diet, I occasionally experienced some digestive issues along with intermittent unexplained (medically speaking, anyways) joint pain and swelling in my hands and feet. It was frustrating to say the least…I was eating clean, maintaining my weight/body composition, training for a half-marathon…what the heck?  What more could I do, what else could I cut out of my diet or add to my exercise regimen???


In August of 2010 Elana Amsterdam of Elana’s Pantry made reference to her “paleo-style” diet which in addition to eliminating gluten, refined sugar and dairy you eliminate all grains as well.  She spoke highly of a new book and cookbook by Mark Sisson of Mark’s Daily Apple, The Primal Blueprint.  I was intrigued and immediately began researching the Paleo/Primal way of eating. Ok, so no grains…seemed easy enough.  I chose to follow The Primal Blueprint style of eating rather than the full on Paleo Diet because the Primal lifestyle is a bit less restrictive on dairy (raw milk cheeses, greek yogurt, heavy cream) and natural sweeteners (stevia, palm sugar, honey).  Basically I cut out the grains corn, oats and quinoa and continued to limit my dairy and natural sugar consumption…in a matter of weeks…NO MORE SWELLING!

I was amazed and continued a grain-free lifestyle until this past May when a series of events derailed me and I allowed some corn (corn chips, polenta and sprouted corn tortillas) back into my diet…it didn’t seem to bother me initially and then one day in late July I woke up a swollen mess (hands, feet and face) and on top of that I was carrying about 7 extra pounds too!!!  Yikes!  It didn’t take me long to reel it back in, cut out the corn and drop those extra pounds but I still had another issue that needed addressing…Even though I had resolved the joint and swelling problems I still was experiencing some digestive issues…and I’m pretty sure I knew why.  Dairy (Humph!)…I have probably known it all along but was just holding out, holding on…I love cream in my coffee, greek yogurt with berries and fresh mozzarella in my caprese salad…I’m sure you understand my hesitation, cut out another food group?  What’s next????

I learned about the Whole 30 Program several months ago through a Success Story on Mark’s Daily Apple and checked it out at the Whole 9 Life website…it seemed close to how I was already eating (minus the dairy!) and more like a program for people new to this style of eating and in need of a jump-start.  What it really sounded like to me was…NO more cream in my coffee!  Of course I still downloaded the Success Guide and all the information and filed it away for reference or for someone else who might need it in the future…I guess that someone was me.

I always say that “you have to find what works for you” and “it will only work when you are truly ready for it to work”!  I could live the rest of my life eating the way I do now and continue to enjoy the level of health that I experience (which is pretty darn awesome!), but I am ready to take the challenge to see if it could be better, cleaner and more efficient.  It’s only 30 days, right? What do I have to lose?  Nothing.  At the very least I will gain better health and better knowledge of what my body needs (or doesn’t need!).  I love what Whole 9 Life says about the challenge…it’s Whole 30 not Whole 365!

I will be starting the program on Monday, October 3, 2011.  I’ll keep you posted on my progress!

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