When you completely withhold sugar from your body you learn new things about yourself. I didn’t think I was a sugar addict, but it turns out I am. I’m a suga-holic. Studies say sugar is as addictive as cigarettes. I don’t take the word “addicted” lightly either. Addictive behavior is tied to dopamine and opioids in the brain being released with a repetitive behavior- like getting that sweet fix at the end of a meal.
I’m one week into Whole30 and I eat delicious, double serving compliant meals, and put my fork down and have a need, a craving for something else. What? CAKE. GIVE ME CAKE. Give me anything. The fruit roll up that kid is eating across the room. I’ll take anything here! (Do you believe I’m a sugar addict yet?) I bet you’re thinking, that’s not me, I’m not a sugar addict.
Let me quickly explain how I was eating before Whole30. I would eat grilled chicken, usually organic, salads for lunch, the occasional sandwich, have shrimp boils and corn about once a week for dinner, spaghetti, pizza occasionally on the weekends, and the very rare dessert. I’d say my sugar intake was small and sporadic- I’d eat a Hershey’s kiss and it would hold me over for the day. I would have 2 beers or wine or other sugar-based alcoholic drinks per week at most, sometimes none at all. I felt my biggest obstacle was my carb intake. Bread and pasta, baby! (**I’ve been reminded, and added this subsequently, that my favorite food is snow cones; so I might not be as guilt-free as I think.)
Sugar is in the little things. It is in that pork rub in your spice cabinet, it is packed in peanut butter, dried fruit, tomato sauce, salad dressings- the list goes on.
To give you a very short run-down on what Whole30 is, it is cutting dairy, wheat, sugar, and legumes (beans, soy, peas, certain nuts) from your diet completely. I’ve read that this cleanse can help regulate hormone imbalance, hypoglycemia, pre-diabetes, polycystic ovarian disease, migraines- all of which I suffer from. It’s 30 days, and I’m willing to give my body that long to try and see if this is worth anything. Above it all, I want to find a way to honor God with my body, and I don’t feel like I’m doing that with my eating habits.
Day 1: Nothing to see here except two people who just got back from vacation and can stand to eat a few salads and some grilled chicken!
Day 2: Okay, are we really doing this? We started feeling the drag of our sugar withdraw. We moved everything we can eat onto two shelves in the refrigerator and in the pantry so it is easy to grab and go; we don’t have to spend time looking at labels because it’s on the “Compliant Shelf”.
Day 3: Angry. Just angry. And HUNGRY. I couldn’t get enough food! I made us steaks with a cilantro sauce on top. Cooking is actually not as time consuming as I thought. It is no different except that you are taking certain foods out of the equation.
Our favorite snacks are: Almond butter ants on a log (celery with almond butter and raisins), cherry tomatoes, clementine oranges, cucumbers dipped in Wholly Guacamole Cups (find them in the produce section at Walmart or Whole Foods), lightly salted almonds.
Day 4: It was the saddest 4th of July without corn on the cob and beer, but we did it! I learned that I had made a mistake label reading when I am shopping. Whole30 calls for ZERO sugar in what you buy, but that is in the ingredients list. Just because it has a certain amount of sugars listed in the nutritional facts info doesn’t necessarily mean it is non-compliant! This was a game changer for me. I had put many things back on the shelf that I could have actually thrown in the cart and been eating (like Rao’s Tomato paste and spaghetti sauce). I’m excited to go back for these items and make some spaghetti squash spaghetti! I also want to get some amino fat oil to bulk up our nutrients.
Day 5-6: Ben and I have caught ourselves snapping at each other. We are also feeling pretty lethargic. We are looking forward to next week when we feel better about life. In the mean time, I’m going to get away to the lake house and turn my aunt’s chicken and black bean tacos into lettuce tacos with grilled chicken, salsa, and guacamole. It’s all about being creative in social situations and trying not to be a pain in the butt to the rest of the party. It’s doable, and they understand and respect it more than you think!
*One thing I have noticed is that I can drink coffee without it throwing my sugar levels for a loop. I had stopped drinking it regularly, because I would drink a cup, and immediately have a stomach ache, nausea, dizziness, and feel the tale-tell signs of low blood sugar, and sometimes even throw up. I have had two cups day 6, and I feel great! I will continue to test this theory out and see if this is actually Whole30 or just a fluke.
Day 7: We made it one week! We’re going to celebrate with a Whole30 cashew substitute cheese sauce over boiled shrimp and spaghetti squash. My sister in law passed on the recipe and says it’s to die for (and it was!).
12 oz bag raw cashews
1 can full fat coconut milk
same amount of veggie stock (you can buy organic at Walmart)
Juice of one big lemon
Salt to taste
2 garlic cloves
Few dashes of cayenne
Some grated nutmeg
Leave all ingredients sitting in a blender of 30 minutes. This allows cashews to soak. Blend for five minutes. This is your cheese sauce! Add salt to taste at the end. It is quite sweet, so you will need to add until it tastes right.
What You Need for the Rest of the Meal
2T coconut oil
2 T ghee or purified butter or coconut/almond butter spread
3-4 garlic cloves
1lb raw shrimp (thawed)
Few dashes of red pepper flakes
squeeze of fresh lemon
salt and pepper
1 spaghetti squash
1 head of broccoli
Heat oven to 375′. Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Put onto a baking sheet flesh side down for 45 minutes. When it is finished, shred with a fork into a bowl and add fresh pepper and salt to season.
While your spaghetti squash cooks..
In a large skillet, sauté 2 cups of broccoli in coconut oil/olive oil over high heat so it will sear. Turn down heat and add in ghee or alternative and add raw shrimp and cook for 5 minutes. Pour cashew sauce over, heat and serve onto spaghetti squash.
If you have any questions about Whole30 or our journey, post in the comment section below!
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your bodies.”
1 Corinthians 6:19-20