A “Whole” Change in Eating Habits

A “Whole” Change in Eating Habits

A “Whole” Change in Eating Habits

No carbohydrates, no dairy and no sugar really sounds like no fun if you ask me, but the Whole30 craze is catching on locally and nationally. The Whole30 is not just a diet, but also a lifestyle change. Created in 2009 by an adventitious nutritionist, Whole30 challenges people to completely cleanse their eating habits over a 30 day span. This plan eliminates all carbohydrates, fats and sugars from one’s diet leaving me asking what’s left. Recently, I encountered the effects of Whole30 firsthand as my mother tried the fad. My family quickly decided that when the woman who usually cooks dinner can’t eat pasta, pizza or tacos neither can we. We were all in it together…well sort of. In theory, Whole30 is a great idea. Thirty days eating mostly proteins, fruits and vegetables surely resets one’s digestive tract and probably allows one to lose some weight. In reality, eating a bowl of noodles made out of zucchini just does not have the same impact. The day my mom cooked vegetables disguised as pasta did not go over well to say the least. I classify myself as the least picky sibling in my house, and even I was not a fan of this faux pasta. My sisters were horrified almost to the point of tears upon their first bite when they realized the comforting carbs we were used to were missing. Even the sauce was different to coincide with the Whole30 guidelines. Zucchini noodles were a bad first impression of what “healthy eating” was really like. My mom was nice enough to not put us through that again, and she would make regular pasta for just my sisters and me to eat. A few days after the terrible “pasta,” we as a family finally got into a groove of what was a yes-food and what was a no. Of course not all of us went completely Whole30. We still had sandwiches, milk and butter, but for our family dinner each night we would try to follow the guidelines as much as possible. We discovered that we liked types of fish we didn't know existed, coconut oil tastes no different than regular cooking oil and an apple is a more energizing snack than any cookie. I grew to love having fruits in my house to snack on. In most instances, healthy alternatives are faster and taste better. Restaurants are a little tricky for someone attempting Whole30, but it was possible to find grilled chicken or a salad just about everywhere. On top of the Whole30, we also fell victim to the kombucha trend. Kombucha is a tea made from fermented bacteria, and yes, somehow its drinkable. I’m still unsure as to how my mom, a few of her friends and even my picky-eater sisters fell in love with the fungus tea, but they did. I, on the other hand, never tried it and do not plan to. After seeing the Scoby, the yeast and bacteria used to brew kombucha, and smelling it, I vowed to never drink the tea. Supposedly kombucha helps with digestion, joint mobility and energy, but that’s still not enough for me to drink anything with a chunk of fungus in it. After our 30 days, we didn't throw what we learned from the Whole30 right out the window. Still we eat grilled chicken instead of fried and more vegetables with our meals. Thankfully our noodles are real noodles now, but healthier condiments and cooking oils are here to stay. Overall, it was a great chance to open my palette to new foods. Even though I don't think I could follow the cleanse 100 percent as I do love to indulge in ice cream or a sugary snack, I could definitely pick healthier alternatives at least once a day. I’m not sure if any diet really works, but just incorporating healthier options into meals could make a difference. I will continue using coconut oil or snacking on kale chips instead of potato chips, but trust me, I won’t forget dessert.