This Monday, I started a new round of Whole30. If you don't know what that is, I recommend reading up on it here. The short version? Whole30 is super strict Paleo. It's a 30 day period of abstinence from dairy, grains, sugar, alcohol, etc. No alcohol even means no vanilla extract (I said strict, didn't I?) It sounds intimidating, but it is beyond worth it. If you haven't done one, I recommend you give it a go!

Whole 30 is designed to help you overcome the sugar cravings and break the addictions of unhealthy foods (like greasy bar french fries.) It also helps you determine how your body reacts to individual types of food, such as sugar. At the end of these initial 30 days, you go through a reintroduction period of each type of food, one at a time, so you can determine how your body individually reacts to them.  

When I recommend this Whole 30, I'm not telling you to do this and stay strict Paleo forever. I'm also not telling you to do this and then go back to eating the exact same way you were before. My philosophy is that there is no such thing as "Paleo perfection." There is only "perfect for you" Paleo.  When I started Paleo, I was super strict. It helped me understand what my body can or can't handle and what foods would make me feel crappy after consuming them. Knowing what I know now, it is easy to make Paleo work for me. I know that I can go out and have some chips and salsa with friends (every once in great awhile) if I really want to. I also know that if I decide to munch on some black beans, I am going to experience unbearable stomach pain. I recommend a Whole30 so you too can learn this and eat the best way for you and your body.

So, if I know how my body reacts, why am I doing Whole30? Because I want to. No, because I need to. I'm not perfect. I got to a point with Paleo where I was justifying more and more Paleofied desserts because "the ingredients are paleo." I allowed myself to start giving in to sugar cravings too many times and it became a big ol' mental battle that I was starting to lose. It is something that I have learned to recognize in myself which means that I've known I needed this for several weeks. As a procrastinator, I kept pushing it off telling myself that I would start it "in a few weeks."

A week ago, I got my shove. I was fortunate enough to hear from YAWP! bars, a North Carolina "granola" bar company, that I had won two boxes of their product as long as I started Whole30. YAWP! bars are Whole30 approved. This means the program designers have verified that the ingredients (nutrition and quantity) fit within their guidelines. It also means that I can confidently eat them as a snack to tide me over between meals. For me, that was a sign that it was time to get my butt in gear and just get going. So, I did. On Sunday, I drank my last beer and ate my last Paleo pizza for 30 days. What I didn't think to do, until just now, was indulge my french fry addiction.  (That's rather upsetting...)

Back to my point. Not only is it exciting for me to go through this experience again with an alumni confidence, but this is also fun for you! What my goal means for all of you is that I'm developing some brand new, mighty fine Whole30 approved recipes. I'll be posting these in addition to my regular recipe releases and will have a special little "Whole30" tag on them so if you do a site search, they will pull up! (This search will also pull up any of my existing Whole30 approved recipes.)

Stay tuned Friday for the release of my first (dedicated) Whole30 recipe!