Breaking my food addiction


Last week I started a new regime of eating, called the Whole30 Program. Now I am not big on New Year’s resolutions or goal setting each year, but after way too much indulgence with regard to eating and drinking through the holidays, I was ready to commit to something different with respect to my relationship with and attitude towards food.

Whole30 is a “short-term nutritional reset, designed to help you put an end to unhealthy craving and habits, restore a healthy metabolism, and heal your digestive tract, and balance your immune system.” The program has been used by tens of thousands since 2009, and appealed to me for several reasons.

First, there is no calorie counting or quantity limitations. I don’t need to reduce my calories, I really just need to make better choices in what I eat.

Second, the program is short duration. It is a 30 day program. I can do 30 days, and hopefully I will obtain new habits that will keep for the rest of my life.

Third, it doesn’t require special, organic, GMO-free, free-range, or grown by Tibetan monk food that is expensive and hard to find. Most of the plan’s “compliant” food is readily available at my local, national grocery chain.

Fourth, it permits meat and coffee, two items I am not prepared to give up, yet.

Yes, there are limitations or “no-no’s”. Here are some of the major restrictions:

  • No added sugar (no sucrose, glucose, corn sweetener or artificial sweeteners)
  • No grains (no wheat, corn, rice, barley, etc)
  • No alcohol (perhaps the most challenging part of the program)
  • No dairy, except eggs (no milk, no cheese, etc)
  • No legumes, except green beans and snow peas (no beans, no soy, no peanuts)

I eat three “regular” meals a day and snack on nuts. Breakfast is comprised of eggs cooked in olive oil, a steamed green vegetable, a piece of fruit, a handful of nuts, and coffee with almond milk. Lunch is a large salad with lots of greens, avocado, and some protein, such as beef, chicken or pork. For dinner I have had shrimp/fish, steak, pork, and chicken with vegetables and potatoes. I eat one plate full and am quite satisfied at the end of the meal, with no desire for seconds (which used to be routine for me).

As of this writing, I am on Day 8 of the program, and I am feeling very well. I experienced some “hang-over” effects with a mild headache and bloating on the first few days. As expected, my body was adjusting to the lack of “ready carbs” which it was accustomed to (ie I was breaking the addiction). Since Day 4 I have felt well. I have plenty of energy, and most importantly I don’t have major cravings. (However, after my wife ate a piece of chocolate, I did have the urge to kiss her).

What I am learning this past week is that I had become “addicted” to certain foods. I enjoyed a bowl of ice cream each night or an extra dinner roll or too many salty potato chips or just a piece of bread because I felt hungry.  I rarely passed up any cookies.

This program is allowing me to step away from my “habitual and addictive” foods by shifting my diet to healthy, unprocessed, and few ingredient foods. It has opened my eyes to be more observant to what I am putting in my mouth. Hopefully this will also heighten an awareness of what I am putting into my mind through media, internet, TV, and reading. What goes into my mind and heart is infinitely (and eternally) more important that what goes into my mouth.

Jesus said: “A man is not defiled by what enters his mouth, but by what comes out of it.”      Matthew 15: 11

At the end of 30 days, I will slowly introduce some of the foods that were banned to see how my body responds to them. It is possible that I have low level allergic reactions to certain foods, but since I have been living with them for decades, I have grown accustomed to them. The Whole 30 reset will help me pinpoint which foods cause me the most problems.

I will report more at the conclusion of the program, but I am very optimistic at this junction. Click on the link to read more about The Whole30 Program.

About John Forrest