I used to own a Sandwich Shop that had a decent amount of culinary treats. When the life of the business ran its course, I pretty much curled up into a ball and didn’t see the light of day for a month. The depression of having a failing business seemed to prevent me from getting on with it and finding employment or trying a new endeavor. |
Cooking used to be a passion, but is now something that is off my radar. My living situation prevents me from a properly cooked meal, even if it was in my DNA to create. For almost a decade, I have eaten foods either prepared in a microwave oven or on a two-top hot plate portable stove.
California living is costly, but rewarding. I’ve traded in a lot of square footage and a proper kitchen for one that is open. I get the mountains and ocean within 45 minutes of each other, at the sacrifice of a decent-sized home and yard. I’m not a fan of lawn maintenance or tons of dishes and primarily eat meals during business meetings or outings with friends.
Realizing I need to make a change, some friends suggested I give the Whole30 diet a try. The problem with most diets, besides the fact that I can be lazy, is that they normally require attentiveness to recipe curation, ingredients lists and an arduous process of cooking meals. All of these things will predominantly doom me to failure because I am always on-the-go and travel to meet clients.
It seems like a lot of excuses are being made, as I type this, but I’m just being honest. Cooking is the bane of my existence and eating out has been a quick and convenient option. As I approach this Whole30 Diet, I'm seeing a lot of ugly attitudes by dieters, so I thought I would make some casual observations and see if I'm not alone in noticing.
The trick to succeeding at this, for me, will be having the ability to put together Whole30-friendly meals that are super simple to make and require limited skills. In the past, people have complained that I’m an “in-the-box” guy, meaning that I like to eat the same damn thing at whichever place we are going to meet. There are certain sushi rolls I prefer, burgers, chicken dishes, pizza toppings, etc. The Whole30 Diet is going to force me to make new habits for the better.
I will readily admit that I am a novice Whole30 supporter. This is all new to me, but I’m keeping an open-mind and giving it the old college try. This diet is wildly popular and I am finding that the attitudes are something I can avoid. Below are a handful of observations about Whole30 and my responses to what I see around me on a daily basis, here in Los Angeles.
Previously, I went five (5) years without drinking soda and just recently stopped the streak. Having the mindset of resisting the beverage is an easy process because I realized, early on, that I could care less about the flavor of the beverage, it was the fizzy sensations that satiated my inner cravings. Switching to soda water or even water-based beverages like iced tea or Crystal Light will be a familiar process. If I’m going to stick to a diet, I would rather have those extra calories for delicious food that’s going to keep my stomach appeased. The growling throughout the day is something that I need to avoid, somehow, someway.
Since cheese and dairy are not allowed in the Whole30 diet, I won’t have much of a choice. In all honesty, cheese is my biggest vice, as it’s my favorite food to consume. The gourmet cheeses at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s tend to scream my name, each time I shop there, so putting on the ear muffs will have to be my priority. By far, this is my biggest weakness.
What is odd about the “no bread” thing is that I seem to only eat it in certain situations (ie. pasta, salad, soup, etc.). The noodles, breads and carbs that are normal will be a non-factor, so finding a Whole30 substitute for the texture of bread will be my objective.
Why Does Flour Matter?
I don’t cook much, if at all, so the flour thing has been something that has been perplexing. There’s a lot of chatter about coconut flour, almond flour and cricket flour as substitutes. The only difference between those options are the taste and all of them, including regular flour, taste good to me except for the cricket flour, which is like eating dirt. Many people on Whole30 are spouting off about wanting “Gluten-Free”, “Soy-Free”, “Sugar-Free” options. Are there yummy recipes out there that aren’t “Taste-Free”? Hopefully, I will enjoy a few of those.
Whole30 Is Not A Jail Sentence
30 days might seem like a quick commitment, but when you are monitoring every single thing you consume, it becomes a tedious process and going much longer than that is the stuff of envy. I go about my day and work with my clients, there’s not a lot of room left over for thinking about whether the chicken was rolled in coconut flour. It just seems like the masses take the finer points of Whole30 and turn it into this rocket science menagerie of hoity-toity arrogance. 30 days can be a life sentence or a spec of time, depending on how you approach the diet, so why not make it interesting and a fun endeavor, instead of the proverbial “root canal”?
I get to be a bit of a grouch around those that are dissecting every nugget of information on Whole30. You’re on a diet. You’re watching what you eat. We get it. Does it really make you feel better to be militaristic and Whole30-shame others that aren’t as hardcore as you? Lighten up, Francis. Rome wasn’t built in a day. I’m not going to let you bully me into your way of being. If I disagree with your viewpoint, it’s not the end of the world. Quit being so aggressive.
Restaurant Etiquette 101
If you are in a restaurant and being conscious of everything you consume, do everyone a favor and try not to interrogate the wait staff about every cooking technique the kitchen uses to prepare their food. If you order the chicken strips, remove the breading, if it bothers you so much. Torturing these poor souls that are just trying to make their rent checks is a bit ridiculous. Asking basic questions like “What’s in the Asian Salad?” is fair game. Getting into an argument or debate about why the restaurant isn’t using that Extra Virgin Safflower Oil is not.
This Is Your Choice
My final point is that Whole30 is a choice. It can be just for 30 days or it can be a lifestyle choice. If you are looking for a paradigm shift in your eating habits, this might work. The trick is to enjoy the process and not be a grouch because you are starving. You don’t have to starve, you just have to find some great recipes or easy-to-grab snacks from the grocery store. Ideally, eating out is not a good option, but there are safe, Whole30 compliant items on any menu in any restaurant. Sometimes you may have to think on your feet and improvise. A good example would be ordering that burger without cheese and Protein style. This eliminates the bun and keeps the protein flowing. If the fast food restaurant does not offer a lettuce wrapped option, why not throw away the bun and grab a few extra napkins instead?
I have several goals for this Whole30 diet that have absolutely nothing to do with other people. Sticking to the food options and not delving into the land of bread and sweets is the top priority. The other priority is incorporating a stronger exercise routine for better results and not being a pain in the ass to my friends, colleagues and family members. This is my decision and not the coffee shop barista’s. Finding the balance of healthy eating, a non-growling stomach and pleasant demeanor are all I’m after. The rest will take care of itself.
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