Hi! I'm a Sugar Addict: Whole30 Day Three
It's 11AM on a Tuesday. It's raining out. I feel tired and groggy, even though I slept for eight hours. I've had an evil, pounding headache for the past two days. I want almond butter. And the sweet, sweet dates that are right over there in the dried fruit section of my workplace's kitchen. I want to drizzle a whole bunch of almond butter on the dates and throw chocolate chips and some maple syrup on top. Oh, and maybe some fresh raspberries. I think my headache is getting worse.
It's also day three of my first, real Whole30.
This whole thing started when...
I began reading Melissa Hartwig's empowering, insightful book, Food Freedom Forever. Listening to her (via Audible) talk about crash diets, one's relationship with food, and habits that can be quickly created around 'paleo-friendly' treats made me feel like she was talking directly to me. And I immediately realized that her tough love is something I've been needing in my life. While I do practice a healthy lifestyle, there are some areas that I'd definitely like to improve upon because they still give me trouble. And they all have to do with my main bae: DESSERT.
Here are some habits that I've formed over the past two-ish years:
- When the almond butter jar is halfway full, I'll mix in vanilla extract and a hefty amount of maple syrup to make a dreamy, creamy, and fudge-like treat. I use this as a dessert (in place of what I did when I was little -- eat chocolate frosting right out of the jar). Also, I eat this with breakfast. Phenomenal.
- For an afternoon snack at work, I'll make a miraculous combination of Medjool dates, lots of peanut butter, and chopped banana. I use this as my "dessert during the day". Oh boy.
- If I bake a batch of vegan chocolate cookies, or gluten-free chocolate chip brownies, you can bet that I'll only have half of the batch left after 24 hours.
- I put Stevia drops in my coffee and tea without even thinking about whether or not I actually want it/need the sweetener.
- SunButter jars have come to only survive for 3-5 days in my house. It's so CREAMY. AND SWEET. AND GLORIOUS.
What I realized is that cycle tricks me (for only a hot second) into thinking that I'm doing a good deed by eating nut butters and gluten-free/dairy-free baked goods instead of refined sugar-filled sweets. However, what happens is that when the jar of nut butter runs dry...and the opportunity to go to a friend's house and bake sugary gluten-FILLED treats arises, I take it. And we bake. And I'll eat far more gluten-heavy banana bread that I actually want and feel super full and digestively ill afterwards. Then, the cycle starts over -- I'll go back to eating almond butter and dates and chocolate bars for dessert because I think this is healthier. However, this is not healthy (for me) if I'm stuck in a food and sugar cycle that I've completely lost control over.
Does this happen to anyone else?
Here's the crazy thing, you guys: I've come to learn that my brain does not know (and doesn't care to know) the difference between a Medjool date with hazelnut butter and maple syrup smeared all over it and a freshly baked, wheat and corn syrup-loaded vanilla bean cupcake. All my brain knows is that somehow, literally every day, it is getting sugar.
Which is why, on day three of my Whole30, no WONDER I have one of those "sugar hangover" headaches. It's something that can happen when you stop feeding your body sugar and it gets confused and sad.
But dates and nut butter are whole30-compliant...How will whole30 help you with your sugar + dessert habits?
That's a good question, one that I was asking myself before I started this Whole30. As I should've guessed, Food Freedom Forever has some appreciated insight on this matter. Apparently, many healthy people actually have issues with uncontrollably treating nut butters & dried fruit as desserts -- which is why one of the recommended "Resets" in the book is the Cravings-Buster Reset. This reset is comprised of the original Whole30 foods, but it also eliminates nuts, nut butters, and dried fruit.
At first, I was thinking to myself, "No way! Dates, dried apricots, cashews, and the almond butter that I keep in my file cabinet are vital components of my diet...especially for work snacks!"
But as Melissa Hartwig says...the food that is your kryptonite must absolutely, positively be eliminated during your reset if you want to truly work to build new habits and change your relationship with food.
I'm not doing these 30 days just for giggles. I want to change my relationship with food, and removing nut butter and dried fruit for this month is one of the most important, crucial steps that I personally can take.
So! My Whole30 will look a little different since there won't be any almond butter stocked in my pantry and slathered over apples. This is a good thing because I believe that everyone's reset should be individualized and tailored to their specific needs.
I'm excited to keep you updated with how Whole30 goes this month -- and afterwards...when nut & seed butters are back on the table (in some way). If you've never heard of Whole30 or the books, It Starts With Food and Food Freedom Forever, I strongly recommend that you check them out. I support the Whole30 program wholeheartedly because I think it's the best plan out there to reset your habits and relationship with food.
If you don't include animal protein in your diet, they now even have vegan and vegetarian options (so great!!) along with the original Whole30, which is pretty much a squeaky clean Paleo reset for 30 days.
Talk to you soon!
P.S. Here are those books!