Beginning My Clean Food Journey


photo: agricultureresource.com

An incredible woman who is a dear friend of mine decided it was time for her to go further on her quest for great health through clean eating. She put it out there to the Universe, and her Facebook friends, that she was hoping that someone would take the journey of the Whole30 plan with her. In support of my friend, I offered to join her. I am so glad I did. I wasn’t the only one though that decided to rise to the challenge as a great group of people joined together to support each other and share ideas and experiences along our one month challenge. My friend started up a group page on Facebook called The Whole 30 Clean Month Poutine Detox. What a perfectly fitting title since poutine had become a bit  like a magnet for me (and her too by the sound of things) over the summer. I hadn’t had poutine in years since  it is prepared using gravy (which = animal product) and I am vegetarian. I decided to make my own poutine so my kids could taste this delicious Canadian treat. A poutine monster was reborn. Lo-and-behold a new poutinerie opened in my city which makes vegetarian gravy for their mouth-watering poutine and an addiction of sorts was formed. I am normally pretty careful about what I choose to eat but for some unknown reason when it came to poutine it was like I went into a hypnotic state and my will to resist vanished. I didn’t like this new addition to my thought (and eating) pattern. And here is where the Poutine Detox comes in! I must say this challenge could not have come at a better time. I was ready for positive change.

Each of us in this support-type group are dealing with our own food demons or lifestyle choices that could have been better surrounding food. We all start at different levels in our dietary choices with the same goal – to be healthier. Who doesn’t want better health? So it is the Whole30 plan that is the base to our month-long clean food poutine detox. It is interesting to hear how others are doing on their journey. My journey feels a bit unique as I think I am the only vegetarian in the group. If I’m misinformed, feel free to tell me. I have had to make my own plan due to the fact that the real Whole30 is basically a paleo-type eating style. I will not under any circumstances consume another Being. Unless of course I am ever lost in the wilderness with nothing else to eat or I would starve to death. Hopefully I will never experience this. So, instead of consuming meat I have included legumes and beans which I eat a lot of normally with no ill effects. I have also discovered a love for nut butters and tofu as alternatives to meat.

A few things I have learned along my journey thus far:

  • I no longer gag involuntarily at the thought of tofu.
  • Eggs are not my friend.
  • Sugar is nasty stuff that can control your mind until you break free of the cycle. I no longer crave anything sweeter than a fresh piece of fruit.
  • Processed food is not our friend. I knew this going into this journey but the past couple of weeks has really amplified this point.
  • The detox process (Day 2 and 3) were like having the flu. I seriously hate that feeling.
  • Exercise is not evil but fun! Yup, I said exercise is fun. Strange but true. Although I draw the line at certain forms of exercise.
  • The clothes in my closet are quickly becoming baggy. I don’t like saggy-bummed jeans. They are not at all attractive.
  • I don’t feel gnawing hunger like I did a month ago come mid-afternoon. I feel great when I eat small snacks throughout  the day that are fresh and wholesome.
  • I am losing my taste for coffee! I’m not so thrilled about this one. I always filled my mug about 1/3 of the way with soy milk and now I’m drinking it black. It is tasty but I don’t feel the need for cup after cup all day long.
  • My energy levels are pretty stable unlike they used to be. I would feel up and down in my energy all day prior to eating clean, whole foods only.
  • Eliminating wheat has been a God-send. I wish I had done this years ago! It is ridiculous how many things our society eats that are centered around wheat. It was a difficult process to break the habit of wheat-based meals such as sandwiches or bagels with cream cheese. I feel so much healthier not eating wheat.
  • Not eating dairy has been the easiest adjustment for me since I didn’t eat a lot of dairy anyway. Organic hormone-free dairy is a budget-buster for a family and I have no interest in the alternative of  funding the corruption of factory-farmed business and the propaganda of the dairy board. I love to support farmers and what they do but ethics trump all else on this issue for me.
  • I enjoy having curves, not jiggly bits. Being comfortable in my own skin is a great bonus to eating “clean”.

So I must give a big thank you to my wonderful friend over at Change My Body, Change My Life. Without her little push I would still be scarfing down poutine and pastries without a thought to how it affected the way I feel over the long-term. I found this approach of  “cold-turkey” elimination of offending foods easier than removing one thing at a time. This isn’t for everyone. Removing something as simple as one soda per day or the sugar in your morning coffee will make a difference to your overall health. I would like to clarify something. This lifestyle choice to eat whole clean food is NOT a crash diet. It is not all about losing weight or being brainwashed. I think it is just the opposite. Eating food in its original whole form is the origins of nurturing or bodies and feeding our need for sustenance. Our body will adjust accordingly and will find its true weight. We have all been brainwashed to believe that convenient non-food items are good nutrition. That because a package states that the product inside has less fat or sodium than it used to makes it a healthy choice. Our taste buds have been primed to want things taste a certain way; saltier, sweeter, or just more of whatever we happen to be consuming.  If we just stop to think a moment about the rates of obesity and illnesses that are diet-related it would become very clear that real food is superior to fake food.

“Don’t dig your grave with your own knife and fork.” ~ English Proverb

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13 thoughts on “Beginning My Clean Food Journey

  1. I’m impressed…vegetarian and you still found a way to make Whole30 work well for you. Congratulations!! Real food comes in a great variety for all of us. When I joined the Facebook group, I had to look up “poutine.” I had no idea what it was, but I guess not knowing wasn’t such a bad thing. Ha!

    • I guess the thought of it not working for me isn’t an option that I thought of. You are right, real food is available in a variety of forms…and they are almost all delicious and full of flavour!

      You are very lucky to have not been introduced to the deliciousness of poutine. Count your blessings. 😉

      Thanks for the support!

  2. Such a good post. About three weeks ago I gave up wheat and I’m eating only gluten free. I can’t even begin to tell you what this has done for me. I have never been so well for a long long time. I just can’t believe the effect that wheat has had on me. You only become aware of it when you give it up. I’ve suffered with indigestion for years. I haven’t had an attack since giving up wheat. It’s quite remarkable. I’m also in the process of cutting down dairy and tea. This has been difficult but I’m slowly getting there. I’m beginning to enjoy some of the natural teas I’ve bought. Really admire your eating journey and I wish you well on it. Again, thanks for your post. I feel inspired by what you’ve said.

    • Thank you. It is astounding how wheat impacts our health, isn’t it? I noticed very quickly how the inflammation in my knees disappeared and I never really thought that they were anything but stiff from my line of work! I’m glad to hear you are having success on your gluten-free journey. It’s exciting to know we really do have control over the way we feel by what we choose to eat. Great going on slowly eliminating dairy and tea. You have inspired me as well Don. Thank you.

  3. A BIG AMEN to ALL of this!!! So well said! It will only get better and better as you enjoy the clean eating lifestyle! Real food?!… Who’d of thought, eh?! 🙂 Thanks for this great reminder of looking past the labels and latest “trends” and yes, not “digging our own graves” by deciding to pay attention to what we’re REALLY eating! It really is simple… the world has made our choices WAY to complicated! 🙂 I try to, as much as I can remember, live by Michael Pollan’s first of a very few and simple guidelines (and this one sums it up nicely) “Eat food, mostly plants.” May you have great success and continue enjoying the journey, sister! 🙂 xo

    • Thank you Sheryl! You are an inspirational woman on so many levels. You are such a blessing for all that have the pleasure of knowing you. This said, I love our foodie conversations and health talks. Your lunch is always so mouth-watering in appearance that most of the time I have to fight the urge to grab it right out of your hands! Maybe I should try that some day just to see your reaction! 😉

      Michael Pollan is a very wise man, indeed.

      Melissa
      xo

  4. Sounds like you get to go clothes shopping! hehe I am also grateful for the challenge. I haven’t given up dairy, and I am eating beans, but have successfully given up all the other junk. I had been on the path to eating healthier, and this challenge is exactly what I needed. I needed to commit to giving up bread, wine, etc for 1 month. Who can’t do it for that short amount of time? Easy? NO! Doable? ABSOLUTELY!!

    • Definitely doable! Kudos to you for rising to the challenge Teresa! It most certainly is NOT easy but once the “feel good” effects start to kick in it is sensational, isn’t it? Hooray for new clothes!!! We are all going to need to update our wardrobe at the end of the month!

  5. You are marvelous. And you have been my greatest inspiration since we met. This post was just plain wonderful. Love you Mels!!

  6. I recently started buying some gluten-free bread and pasta, and am amazed at how lighter I feel after a piece of toast, or bowl of pasta. But, I haven’t tried hard enough. I just returned from our weekly farmers market and there is no gluten-free bread, so, because I’m making soup tonight, I bought wheat bread. I don’t know what poutine is. I haven’t cooked much since 2000 when I embraced a raw diet, which includes dairy. A big part of my diet is fresh green vegetable juice most mornings to start the day, and a raw goat yogurt, berry, honey, raw coconut cream, raw egg smoothie. Sometimes, I put in a heaping tablespoon of raw cacao and I have energy for hours. Snack in the afternoon is raw kale chips or apple and a hunk of raw cheese. Then, dinner is a simple meal of grilled fish or meat and vegetables, brown rice, with water or glass of raw milk. Occasionally, we have pre-made foods. A glass of wine here or there. Beans give me gas, unfortunately, and I couldn’t eat tofu unless I was starving. So, my diet is very, very different from yours, and raw dairy is tres cher! But, I try to conserve in other ways, so I can keep buying it, while it’s still available. Our government is intent upon taking these food rights away from us. Good luck on your journey! You are making positive changes. Soon, you won’t need to put coffee in your body at all. I drink a light-caffeine Green Tea Tropical that isn’t bitter, no calories and very refreshing hot or cold. Or a warm cup of raw cacao with a spoon of low-glycemic index coconut palm sugar (now, that’s got some calories, but so good!). Good luck! – Kaye

    • Reading my post, it looks like I said I had green juice and a smoothie to start the day. The smoothie is hours later. Green juice is alkaline and dairy is acid. You should not mix the two in your stomach. – Kaye

    • Kaye, your food regime is outstanding! Fueling your body the way you do is inspiring. I didn’t actually imagine that you would have both the green drink AND the smoothie together but I’m glad you clarified that just in case I had read it that way. Wow, you would be sloshing out in the garden with that much liquid inside! 😉 Eating in a body-nurturing way will assist us on our Life journey with the energy we need to get things done and hopefully lead to great health in later life without the burden of pharmaceuticals and insane amounts of medical dependency.

      It is so true that governmental regulations are encroaching on our food choices. It’s bad enough we have to be bombarded by adverts for fast food and processed un-food garbage constantly but to take away wholesome food is crossing the line. Pasteurization is a double-edged sword. Raw should always be an accessible option.

      Thanks for your support. I really appreciate your tips and kind words.
      btw – I love green tea and have started to swap it for my coffee. I still like a cuppa joe to start my day though. More habit than need.

      -Melissa

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