I realized, after posting on Monday: The Whole30 in Africa, a Reluctant Food Post, that I didn’t explain much. What is the Whole30? If you already know, this won’t be interesting and stop by again next week. If you don’t know, read on.
Here is a short, basic primer.
It isn’t a diet (I didn’t go into it hoping or planning to lose weight).
It is more of a food ‘cleanse’ or a detox or a reset, of sorts.
For thirty days you eat:
NO alcohol, added sugar, legumes, dairy, or grains.
Along with the obvious things that are cut out, that means no honey, artificial sugars, maple syrup. No corn, rice, quinoa, oats, popcorn. No soy, chickpeas, peanuts, peanut butter. No milk, yogurt, cheese.
You don’t weigh yourself, you don’t snack, you pay attention to your body – cravings, feelings, strength, energy, sleep, etc.
You don’t cheat by making whole30 ingredient approved sweet foods like pancakes or energy bars or granola.
Ideally, you eat local and organic. That was an area I couldn’t follow, but not one of the rules, so I didn’t feel I was cheating. Almost nothing, literally, is grown locally other than khat, a leafy drug-like amphetamine, which thought not explicitly prohibited, I assumed was off limits.
You go the whole thirty days, no ending early, no slip ups.
After thirty days you slowly reintroduce the foods you’d cut out and again, pay attention to your body so that you understand how you respond.
The rules are pretty strict but that is in order to get the full benefit and to really learn your body and your personal reactions to various foods.
I like the strictness. If I were allowed to cheat, I would, and then I wouldn’t be doing the program.
The question is, then, what can you eat?
Vegetables, meat, eggs, fruit, olive oil, nuts, and all the things that can be made from combining these ‘real’ foods.
Some people really freak out, especially the first week. I read about things like swearing at the refrigerator and being unable to control pulling into a bakery parking lot and stuffing one’s face with donuts. It isn’t supposed to be easy.
For me, there was no swearing and there are no donuts which are at all within the range of worth eating ever, so those weren’t my specific challenges.
But doing the Whole30 in Africa was challenging. More about that to come next week.