Each of our bodies are so unique; they are constantly changing, and our needs are always evolving.
Over the past few years, I have really learned how to tune in with myself on a daily basis to see what I need (not what is working for another person). This can be tricky as there is a ton of information out there, but staying conscious and aware of our individual needs is a habit that is built over time. What worked for me last year, or even last month, might not be what I need today; this is what makes tuning in so important. I am by no means perfect (especially since that doesn’t exist!) but we all share the journey of learning to listen to what our bodies are trying to tell us.
Three weeks ago, I finished the Whole30. It was my first time doing the program, and I had a few takeaways from the experience that I wanted to share. After a hectic month of packing up our life in Brooklyn and moving to Long Island for a bit before we find our new home, I was craving a reset and wanted to clean up my diet. For those of you who haven’t heard of Whole30, it is an elimination diet that removes all grains, sugar, legumes, processed foods, alcohol, soy, and dairy. In the end, it was not a program I felt called to stay on past the thirty days as it was a bit too restrictive for me, but with that being said, I walked away with a few key lessons.
the emotional connection with food
In all honesty, I was feeling the effects deeply for the first week or so. It wasn’t so much withdrawals from particular foods, but more so craving the emotional comfort of grabbing a piece of chocolate. Over the 30 days of the program, I was more aware of the moments I might have eaten something out of emotion rather than hunger. This awareness was really healing for me as it allowed me to tune in to what emotion was coming up on a deeper level and move through it. Past the thirty days, I have continued to stay hyper aware of this and found that, for me, leaving sugar out of my diet has been very helpful.
going on an elimination diet
As someone with both Celiac disease and a ton of allergies (all nuts, shellfish, and soy), eliminating any inflammation-causing foods is a great tool that, when used with reintroduction, unveils what I might be having a reaction to and what is taking my energy. Once you eliminate a certain range of foods for a period of time, slowly integrating them back in makes it easier to know exactly what foods do not agree with you. For me, I plan on adding back soaked + (ideally) sprouted grains and legumes (for easier digestion), but only a handful of times throughout the week to not overdo it, and making veggies the star of my meals.
I have tried every diet under the stars—from paleo to vegan to pescatarian and on and on and on. What I have learned is that labels are a set-up to feeling like we failed whenever we “fall off” that particular diet. At this moment in time, I am feeling called to include a lot more plant-based meals, continue with my daily bone broth, and just take it moment by moment without labels or judging what my body is asking for.
I have done a few different elimination diets, my favorite being the Clean program, but I found that Whole30 did provide some benefits. In the end, it didn’t change my life, but it did teach me how to better tune in to what my body is asking for.
what is currently working for me . . .
Once I wrapped up the program, my body was calling for me to include a lot more plant-based meals, so that is what I have been doing over the past three weeks. Smoothies, salads, and soups have been on rotation.
Here are a few plant-based recipes I have bookmarked to make in the upcoming weeks:
I have been straight up OBSESSED with bone broth for years now. It has been such an integral part of my diet and healing journey. I love Brodo (they ship!) and drink the broth plain, use it as a base for blended soups, or simply sauté a ton of veggies and add 1–2 cups for an easy dinner.
I have recently become interested in the concept of food combining. It has been on my radar on and off for the past eight years or so, but most recently it has really ignited an interest. I have been playing around with eating light to heavy and properly combining foods. For more on this check out the Bonberi guide here—it’s super informative!
So that is where I am at for now! Lots of plants, checking in with my body daily, and nourishing myself from the inside out. The key takeaway: do what is best for you and consistently check in with your body’s needs. Our bodies are our best teachers.
Have you ever done Whole30? What are your thoughts on elimination diets? Let me know in the comments below.