The Caveman Plan
I’ve been doing the Whole30 food challenge since the first week in January and I have been both surprised and delighted by what I have been experiencing so far. The plan makes eating pretty simple, not sure what to have? Think of what a caveman had available to him and that will tell you what your diet consists of. Fruits, vegetables, meats, seafood, nuts and seeds, and that’s it! Simple right… well until you read the fine print. No dairy, grains, or processed foods with added sugar allowed- just plain, old-fashioned whole foods.
I knew this was going to be a serious undertaking, but I don’t think I understood quite the gravity of it until I began. And in the time that I would have spent mindlessly grazing on candy and sweets, I am instead learning and applying 3 key concepts into my life:
1) A little discipline goes a long way! – Maybe you’ve heard the saying a rising tide lifts all ships. While it is usually applied to economics and people’s financial situation, I am seeing that it fits with discipline as well. Since committing to doing the food challenge, I have noticed changes in many areas of my life. Instead of being lazy with my meals, I have taken more responsibility for what food I am putting into my body. Doing so requires me to plan my meals, my shopping, my snacking and my life- I can’t simply order Thai food on my way home from Northbrook and call it a night! In reorienting my life around my food and eating habits I have seen improvements in other areas as well. My other disciplines- exercise, quiet times, rest, and therapy at CLE- have all been improving as well. Now that I’m writing this I’m thinking that it probably didn’t even matter what I had committed to to see an increase in discipline in my life. I think the simple act of committing to and intending to succeed has made the difference.
2) You are what you eat! – I have been putting dense, natural, raw, and good-for-you foods into my body, and guess what—I can feel the difference. I had been like a high-octane engine running on low octane fuel– No longer! The higher quality foods that I’m consuming, I’m seeing the more energetic and alive I become. No more morning sluggishness or afternoon sugar withdrawals, I have felt more resilient, more capable, and just plain healthier. I have felt good about myself the past couple of weeks- and all I have had to change has been my diet and my mindset around what it looks like to really take good care of myself. As I’ve felt better about my food choices, I’ve felt better about myself. And as I feel better about myself, I am more excited to take better and better care of myself. Sounds strange but by eating good-for-me foods, my attitude and patterns of self-care have become good-for-me as well!
3) Make it taste good! – No one said that just because I am on a food challenge means that I have to eat boring and tasteless food. I have noticed I have the tendency to make things harder for myself than they need to be. I mean a challenge isn’t a challenge unless its hard, right, and in my mind, the harder it is, the more of a challenge, and the more I can brag about it afterwards… So I embellish a little bit here, deprive myself of certain things there and… viola… I have an ironclad, drama-induced look at me type story that misses the point of the challenge entirely. In reality though, the challenge is about me finding new and creative ways to make my life taste better not only through the foods I am choosing to eat, but also in the activities I am choosing to do, the friendships I am choosing to develop, and the attitude I am choosing to have while doing it all. I have the choice to make my life taste good or not, and ironically enough, limiting what I eat gives me more freedom to appreciate the many different flavors in my life.