Good morning from Day 7 of the Whole 30 Challenge. I am sitting here in my yoga space/office, contemplating the roller coaster of a week it has been. My Crossfit gym, Rocket Crossfit (best place in Seattle…come check it out!) does a Paleo Challenge three times a year. The challenge is based on the book “It Starts with Food” by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig. The authors describe it as a nutritional reset.

Here are the basic rules:

  • No added or refined sugar (OMG SERIOUSLY?)
  • No alcohol (where’s my wine?)
  • No grains
  • No legumes
  • No dairy
  • Nothing with carrageenan, MSG or sulfites (these are in a lot of packages non-dairy milks. Surprise!)
  • Do not recreate baked goods or treats the “Paleo” way.
  • Do not step on the scale or take body measurements.

On top of all these guidelines, the Rocket Paleo Challenge rules:

  • Sleep 7 hours a night
  • Drink 1/3 of your body weight in water
  • 10 minutes of mobility (stretching)
  • Stick to your own goals for working out (WODs, planned rest days, etc

This is a lot of stuff. And it’s for 30 days.

WHAT WHAT? FOR REALS? THAT’S CRAY CRAY!!!!

Yep, it kind of felt that way when I committed at the very last moment, right under the wire. I attempted the Paleo challenge in the spring and pretty much gave up after one week. I lost interest…or else I think I wasn’t psychologically ready for the challenge. Because this challenge, this way of eating and measuring and being exact, is so difficult for me. It’s not just about food, it’s about a way of life which requires discipline and commitment. Which is EXACTLY what yoga asks of us. In Sanskrit, it’s called Tapas – discipline or the type of intense focus and heat necessary to make change happen. I find it pretty damn funny, given that I am a yogi who loves discipline and structure on the yoga mat and in class. I do not like taking yoga classes that are not clear and logical. I spent 6 years studying with an Iyengar teacher. My current teachers are all influenced by that method of practice or Ashtanga (a vigorous set sequence of postures with six series), which is another system that demands commitment to see benefit. And yet when it comes to my diet and lifestyle, it’s so frigging tough.

Back to Day 7…

I am sitting here sipping on my homemade almond milk latte with coconut oil (stop buying that crap in the box and make it in your Vitamix. Get a Vitamix, while you are at it. You can thank me later) contemplating the week that has passed. The past seven days has tried my patience to the max. Not so much with the sleep, water, workout and mobilize stuff, but with the food stuff. It amazes me how many issues we have around food. A big reason I decided to join the challenge was to kick my sugar habit to the curb. Everyone said to me, “You seem to eat so healthy.” And while yes, I am a huge fan of dark greens, veggies, good fats and all that, I am also a sugar addict. There, I said it to the whole blogosphere: I am a sugar addict. The white stuff is as addictive as cocaine (yes, there are studies that prove this). And I am a full-on addict. Like need sugar in some form every day. Be it chocolate, ice cream, a pastry from the local bakery or whatever, I craved it. And so when I was presented with the opportunity to eliminate it, I got pretty scared. Because sugar is not just something physical for me, it serves an emotional purpose. It soothes me when things get tough. It brings me to a happy place when I am stressed out. Sugar is my crutch. And it’s time to ditch it.

And so here we are at Day 7 of 30, and no refined sugar has passed my lips (YAY! Victory Dance!).Day 1, 2 and 3 were really not so bad. It wasn’t until Day 4 when I started getting bloaty and hangry that I realized how much I missed my beloved sugar. A piece of fruit or a scoop of almond butter just wasn’t cutting it. Not to mention all this meal planning and realizing you can’t just stop at the local coffee shop and get a snack. You actually have to plan what you are going to bring with you. Thank god for Whole Foods or else I would have given up about three days ago.

That said, I have appreciated all the forethought I have put into my food this past week. It has made me reflect upon the fact that we (as a society in the West) are quite mindless about what we put into our mouths. Not to mention where that food actually comes from. So this journey, so far, has provided me with the opportunity to dig deep and really study my habits and patterns. In yoga, we call it Svadhyaya. It means self study. And just this week, my teacher Aadil gave us a dharma talk about this subject. How important it is for us, as human beings, to observe our behaviors and our habits. And how it’s equally important to break those patterns that don’t serve us anymore so that we can grow and evolve. So I guess this whole 30 day challenge is for me, really, an exercise in growth and evolution. So I can become a happier, healthier me.

Oh, and here’s a little tasty treat for you…Lamb burger with egg, sauteed mushroom and onion, guacamole and carrot fries. Thanks to Nom Nom Paleo for the amazing eats. #eatrealfood #whole30 #iamcommitted

lamb burger