Jul 1st, 2015
Category: Healthy Eating
A little known fact about me is that I was actually vegan for a couple of years. This comes as a surprise to many people who know me now as I am constantly snacking on hard-boiled eggs and chicken. I loved being vegan—the food choices were so much fun, I liked the idea of helping the planet in any way I could, and of course, the feeling that as long as I was eating vegan I was “guilt-free” (which is totally not true and more about that in a future entry). Unfortunately, my body did not like being vegan. At all. I developed candida, I had insane energy crashes throughout the day, and I gained several pounds. Not fun. I realized through this that being vegan is not for everyone and I needed to find the diet that was right for me.
It all started with the candida. In order to detox and get rid of it, I had to immediately go on a high-protein and high-fat diet with only vegetables as my carbohydrate (see www.thecandidadiet.com for more info on what I did). I immediately lost weight, my energy got restored, and the symptoms of candida gradually started to fade over time.
As soon as the symptoms went away, about a month later, I started incorporating my usual whole grains, legumes, and dairy back into my diet along with the animal protein and fat that I was now eating. But then something puzzling started happening—about every few weeks of eating a “normal” diet like this, I would experience candida-like symptoms again and also gain weight. I couldn’t figure it out!
Enter the Whole30. I had heard about this diet from a client of mine and saw firsthand how it completely cleared up her psoriasis. Plus, I really liked how the diet focused not on weight loss, but on a complete reformation of your healthy eating mindset, promising an overall transformation of your relationship to food. So I embarked on the journey!
The Whole30 is a 30-day program of eating nothing but protein, fat, vegetables, and fruit. No processed food of any kind, no alcohol, no grains, no legumes, no artificial sweeteners, not even gum (that one was a super hard one for me). It was not easy, but after a few weeks of doing it, you truly feel liberated from an emotional connection to food and the results are enough to keep you on it. I lost 7lbs in the 30 days, I absolutely never had energy crashes, and I didn’t feel like I needed to exercise for hours to keep my weight down. But the best part for me was that I finally found a diet that would keep me candida-free and the leanest I’ve ever been.
You can find out more about the Whole30 at www.whole30.com, but it is essentially a modified Paleo diet, which is what I’ve been adopting as a lifestyle now. Sure I will cheat here and there while out on a date with my husband or at a social event, but as long as I stay mostly Paleo, I’ve been able to keep at my “low weight”. Also, I’ve added back in stevia to my coffee and healthy baking adventures. I just couldn’t give up baking forever and that is a strict “no-no” on the Whole30, even healthy baking (for the reasons why, see http://whole30.com/whole30-program-rules/).
I feel so at peace with both my emotional relationship to food and I absolutely love the physical transformation my body has made. Everyone’s body is different and Paleo might not be the solution for you. But if you’re at all curious, I urge you to read the book IT STARTS WITH FOOD and try the Whole30 to see if it’s for you. And in the meantime, get ready for some delicious Paleo recipes popping up on my blog!