What Whole30 Taught Me About Food, Friendship, and Finance
I decided to kick off 2017 and the last month of my 28th year by doing the Whole30. I had just spent a week in the mountains drinking beer, and I really felt like my diet had spiraled over the last few months. I didn’t feel great and I wanted to go into 29 feeling fabulous.
So, I bought the Whole30 cookbook, followed a bunch of people on Instagram, and looked up a ton of recipes that included potatoes, veggies, and meat. DELICIOUS. By the end of the month, I had learned so much more than how to make 3,546 recipes featuring coconut oil.
It quickly became apparent that I was addicted to sugar. It is secretly added to everything. Rice Crispies have added sugar! Bacon has added sugar! Everything has sugar. The first few days were rough and I was the crankiest person who has ever walked the earth. Then, like moving past withdrawal, I felt amazing. I had more energy, didn’t crash in the middle of the day, and slept like a baby. It was great – and so was my skin.
Being successful eating on the Whole30 meant planning ahead. If I had a lunch meeting, I typically ate something before hand and had a simple salad at the restaurant. I also did a lot of meal prepping on Sunday so I didn't put myself in the position of having to make a bad choice.
A big component of the Whole30 is giving up alcohol. No booze leads to lots of lose. (That was terrible, I’m sorry.) It took about 6 hours before I started to realize how much of my social life revolved around drinking. Happy hour, girls’ night with wine, brunch, vacations to wine country, brewery tours, you name it. I rarely drank to excess, but I drank all the time.
At first, I said no to invitations to go out to grab a beer or go to brunch because I didn’t want to tempt myself. It was really lonely. Then I started reaching out to people inviting them to do different activities – a walk for coffee in the morning, yoga after work, dinner at my house – I’ll cook. Some friends rolled with it, no questions asked and applauded my quest. Others had no interest in hanging out without alcohol centric activities. This really sucked, but I also felt an odd sense of acceptance. Life is busy and it is hectic and I want my time to be spent in a meaningful way. If you aren’t interested in hanging out beyond the bar, that’s fine, someone else does.
At the end of the first two weeks of Whole30, I looked at my bank account – HOLY SHIT I WAS RICH. After putting money into savings, after paying my rent, and my bills, and buying a dress, I had money left in my account! Then I started calculating how much money I spend each month on food and alcohol. It was shocking.
Not going out also gave me a lot free time to sit down and evaluate my financial situation and create a budget. I got excited about money because I had money. I wanted to learn how to manage it and make more of it. I started listening to podcasts about personal finance, particularly as it pertains to women. (Shout out to Jean Chatzky and Jill Shlesinger!) I read books and did research and began talking openly about money to my friends. Guess what! They had the same concerns as me. They had student loans and financial goals and retirement questions. It was an incredibly liberating experience!
Now, I am a little over a year past my Whole30 detox and am thankful every day for the path it put me on. I still enjoy sunny afternoons on the deck with a glass of wine, deep dish pizza, and spending Saturday afternoons brewery hopping; but, I am healthier, more focused, more driven, and have stronger, more meaningful relationships.