30 days ago I set out to see if I could change my eating habits for good. I decided to try the Whole30 program.
With a recent history of food intolerances and multiple chemical sensitivities brought on by toxins, an atrocious diet and a stressful lifestyle, I've been on a journey over the last four years to regain my health. Battling mind and body - and a severe corn intolerance that means I can rarely take any supplements - the Whole30 reset sounded like a good next step for me.
The Whole30 is not a diet for life. It's about changing your relationship with food. It's about getting in touch with foods that heal and and foods that harm you.
So, you remove highly inflammatory foods from your diet including gluten, dairy, sugar, alcohol, legumes and pulses for 30 days. Having been corn, gluten, soy, nut and dairy free for the last four years I thought, great, this should be a breeze.
Armed with my regular delivery from Abel & Cole, full of organic goodies, I set out on my 30 days to salvation.
Day 1, OK, Day 2, OK, Day 3 ... oomph ... felt like I'd been hit by a big red bus. Headache like you wouldn't believe. Couldn't get out of bed that day until 4pm. Just felt awful. Day 4, a little better, Day 5, much better, Day 6, almost back and Day 7, back on a roll. I've spent the next 23 days in the calmest state I've ever felt. No highs and lows. Stress not getting the better of me. Rather than sitting in front of the TV, I've been cleaning out cupboards and decluttering! Never felt better. Such a clear, focused head. Oh, and I'm 6lbs lighter.
With the 30 days over, what should I do now? Stay on and do a Whole60, 90 ... 120? Actually, they don't recommend you do that. You need to be able to handle the right food choices for you with all of the temptations that abound. It's also not a great idea to eliminate whole food groups if you don't need to.
The next step is to reintroduce slowly the foods that you've not been eating for the last 30 days and see how you feel. I'm scared. They say you will be scared at this point. You've taken comfort in such strict rules and now you've got to go back out into the world with your stabilisers off!
So, what next? I've decided to continue Whole30 as the foundation of my diet, because it suits me. However, I'm still going to allow the other foods in, as and when I need to, minus the ones that I'm still sensitive to.
So, as I sit here celebrating the achievement with my ONE (!) glass of rosé, I say if you need to change your relationship with food - try Whole30. If nothing else you'll feel great at the end of it.