How do you know if someone at a party is eating Paleo?
Don’t worry. He’ll let you know.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a hater. I mean, unless you’re talking about a Kardashian. Or the NBA. Or Sheryl Crow. Or that song “Mr. Jones and Me.”
Oh, my gosh. I’m an awful person.
At any rate, I feel momentarily entitled to make a whole food joke or two. You see, I recently completed the “Whole 30” challenge, which is the month-long dietary equivalent of sackcloth and ashes. The goal of eating Whole 30 is to reset your body by eliminating all processed foods and common allergens from your diet. No breads. No grains. No additives or preservatives. No dairy (not even butter). No sugar (not even honey). I’m pretty sure you’re not allowed to smile, help the needy, or donate toys to orphaned children while you’re on the diet either. On the Whole 30 diet, you find yourself eating nothing but leaves, meat, and unsulfured prunes. For thirty days. The diet was created by two people without souls and who don’t understand the spiritual benefits of splashing cream in one’s coffee.
Why did I embark on this Spartan enterprise? Well, as most of my undertakings in life begin, I was bushwhacked by a friend. Otherwise, there’s no way in Helena (Get it? Because I made a reference to ancient Greece?) I’d have voluntarily given up cookie cake for an entire month.
The first two weeks of the diet I suffered severe sugar withdrawal. I was tired, listless, sad, emotional, unmotivated, irritable, and bloated from all the leaves and unsulfured prunes. I would have thrown myself into oncoming traffic on Highway 40, except I didn’t have the energy (another symptom of sugar withdrawal). But, once the more unpleasant symptoms of sugar addiction faded away, I began to feel better. I felt more emotionally stable. I felt fitter. And once, somewhere around day twenty-one, I even almost felt happy.
But not too happy. (I didn’t want to break the rule of the diet.)
In the end, I survived. And in all honesty, I’m glad I did it. I feel healthier. I trimmed up. I am no longer a slave to sugar. And I learned that I can hold my unsulfured prunes like a champ. In fact, I was so impressed by the results of eating Whole 30, I decided I would continue the diet after the thirty days were over.
Except for the cream in my coffee part. Life is too short not to put cream in your coffee, folks. Hashtag truth.
The last day of my Whole 30 affair was Tuesday, which meant on Wednesday I would wake up at the crack of dawn, hightail it to Starbucks, and order a Venti Americano. With. Room. For. Cream.
Except I didn’t wake up at the crack of dawn on Wednesday. I woke up at 1:56 a.m. It was like my body knew. The Whole 30 was over.
As if by some wondrous power, the stark, abstemious dietary restrictions were lifted—as were all vestiges of self-denial. I threw off my covers. I climbed out of bed. I marched downstairs. I opened the fridge.
And I stuffed my face with six thousand spectacular calories lovingly wrapped in a leftover Qdoba burrito. It was two in the morning. It was glorious.
I have no idea how it happened. I had been feeling so strong. I had learned to love not abhor eating Whole 30. I was lean and mean and Spartan. Guys, I don’t think you understand the self-restraint I had exhibited during the previous thirty days. I had gone to Mission Taco on Delmar and watched—watched—my friends eat chips and guacamole and tacos while I sipped on water. Water.
[reflecting on the moment]
And yet, the very moment the mandatory constraints were lifted, I succumbed to the call of rice and beans and cheese and chicken and guacamole and more rice and more beans and more cheese. Of course, I felt like a burrito the next morning, and I vowed to return to my puritanical Whole 30 diet.
Yeah, about that... Let's just say that on some days I make Sparta proud, and other days, I make the Pillsbury Doughboy proud.
It’s all about balance.
And that, my running friends, is my takeaway from the Whole 30 diet. Life is too short not to eat well, but it’s also too short not to put cream in your coffee. So treat your body well. (As one friend put it, “Don’t put diesel in a Ferrari.”) If you’re going to ask your body to do great things, you’d better give it great fuel.
And the occasional burrito.