Health and Fitness Part VI: Whole 30, Whole Me

In Health, She's Enjoying the Journey by Erinne Kennedy, DMD, MPH

30 Days of What?

Feeling lethargic? Lacking motivation? Craving your afternoon coffee? Binge eating? Binge Netflixing? Skipping workouts? Sleepless nights? For a whole 30 days and more?

Can I get an “amen”? Ladies, let’s face it: we have all felt the whirlwind of symptoms described above. And to be brutally honest, this was me exactly three weeks ago. I was perpetually exhausted, and I wasn’t motivated at work or at school. This is unusual for me!

I was craving sweets and eating them throughout the day, even stopping by the local coffee shop in the afternoon. Oh, and did I mention lots of red-eye flights and eating out? This led to a cycle of late nights and late mornings which left little time to work out. My body was screaming “Stop!” If my body could actually scream, it would have exclaimed “Feed me good food, lots of water, and cut the crap Erinne.”

What is Whole 30?

I bet if you are reading this blog, you might be feeling the weight of it all. Dentistry is hard. Life is harder. And guess what, girls, Whole 30 is hardest!

Yes, eighteen days ago I decided to add another challenge to my life. Starting the Whole 30. But I can tell you now, on Day 18, that this was one of the best decisions I have made in my entire life. I feel clean, light, focused, energized . . . and I have not missed many workouts!

The Whole30 is a trendy “diet,” if you will, that is focused on getting rid of processed and inflammatory driven foods. In summary, you are going to cut out all refined carbohydrates, grains, dairy, legumes (except green beans), sugars (processed, artificial, natural, and real), alcohol, and tobacco.

Filter Out the Chemicals

Your first response might be: “What am I going to eat?” “What about wine and cheese?” “I eat cereal for dinner, a lot!” “Greek yogurt! Can I survive a whole month without Greek yogurt?” I hear ya, sister. I thought the exact same thing. But you cut out the junk, and  you’ll feel great.

Truly, our bodies were just not meant for all the processed chemicals that are in in the food we eat today. We were not made to digest and filter through chemical after chemical just to get an ounce of the good stuff. The Whole 30 plan teaches you to filter out the chemicals before your stomach and small intestine have too, and they will thank you for that.

So What Have I Learned?

Connecting Better

The best part about the Whole 30 is how many patients I have connected with through talking about the Whole 30. For people who are high-caries risk, it is a great way to recommend decreasing the number of carbohydrates in their diet. You can offer them clear direction through the Whole 30 website. (And trust me, after a few days of no latte’s, you won’t feel any scum on your teeth midday!) Also, I have found quite a few patients who are doing the Whole 30 as well, it is such a great trust builder and conversation piece. I love sharing my experience and struggles and hearing theirs as well.

New Level of Self-Discipline

Second, you are going to learn a new definition of discipline. I work in a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), where the dental department is all women. In addition, we are less than half a block from Mike’s Pastry (a famous restaurant in Boston). EVERY DAY, and I am not exaggerating, we have pastries delivered to our office. Now that I am on the Whole 30, I am realizing that I was eating that delicious junk every single day. (And believe me, when the smell of warm chocolate fills my nostrils at 2:59 pm, I am tempted, but I have also learned a new level of discipline.) Simply, you do not need that sugar to survive, so don’t eat it.

Over the Emotions

Sugar makes you more emotional. In fact, a diet that is high in sugar sends you on an emotional roller coaster daily. I think we all love the thrill of Demon Drop, but perhaps not on a daily basis, especially when we’re at work dealing with stressful situations. Since I started the Whole 30, I feel like I am more even-keeled. (I still need to check with my assistant to see if this is true!).

Plan Ahead

Working and traveling while on the Whole 30 is definitely challenging but doable. The key is planning all of your meals ahead. A major benefit of planning is that you are never starving because you have planned snacks and meals ahead of time. In addition, you save money. Airport snacks and eating out can be expensive, so learning to pack meals in advance saves some major dough.

If you are wondering how you can fit this into your day, here is a sample day on my Whole 30. If you want recipes or tips, feel free to email me!

Typical Day :

  • Breakfast: 2 hard boiled eggs, banana, jasmine green tea
  • Snack: Lara Bar or Rx Bar + Fruit
  • Lunch: Protein + Veggie + ½ Sweet Potato OR Tuna Salad
  • Snack: Fruit or Veggie + Nuts jasmine green tea
  • Dinner: Sweet Potatoes Chili OR Salad with avocado, protein, veggies, and nuts

Great Travel Snacks:

  • Trader Joes Guacamole Packs
  • Trader Joe’s Plantain Chips
  • Sliced Veggies
  • Lara Bars / Rx Bars
  • Bananas / Apples / Oranges
  • Epic Jerky
  • Nuts (Cashews and Hazelnuts)

I hope you join me in changing your body and committing to cleansing your systems. It feels great, and it’s a great way to jump-start your summer. Just DEW it, ladies!

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