If you have been following me on Instagram and have paid attention to my stories, you would know that I started my Whole 30 journey last month. As, I am now a proud graduate it was only natural for me to share my journey, my learnings and of course the results with you all. 

I must admit that I started on this journey with a lot of trepidation. Diets have never interested me and the idea of restricting certain types of food has never compelled to the foodie in me. However, several of my friends tried this last year and they swore that it has completely changed their relationship with food. 

This intrigued me, since the last three years, I have noticed that my stress eating habits had spiralled out of control and no amount of Crossfit, yoga, running and walking was helping me. I admitted to myself that no exercise can outdo a bad diet or like in my case a slightly bad diet.

As I said, I do not have a bad diet as such; thanks to my women-only fitness group,  Crossfit box, an Instagram full of my athlete friends, health bloggers, coaches, yogis, bikini competitors and whatnots, I have managed to stay motivated with my workouts and 75% clean-eating. But despite all that I was not seeing the results, I was hoping for. I knew I needed to change something and re-visit my food habits. Enter Whole 30. 

So, what is Whole 30?

Whole 30 is all about eating real food. The program was created by wife and husband duo, Mellisa (Hartwig) Urban and Dallas Hartwig in 2009. They are certified sports nutritionists who first co-authored the book “It Starts with Food” in which they argued that all our health problems start with food and hence having a healthier relationship with food can help us to manage most of the conditions or even break away from bad habits. 

Whole 30 and how it helped me to overcome emotional eating

In the book (pictured above, yes I read it cover to cover), they clearly mention that Whole 30 should not be taken as a weight-loss diet, in fact, you should not even step on scale or measure yourself during the 30 days but really understand your relationship with food and how it might be affecting any issue you have. 

Now, my research (before starting this) also threw many critics of the program calling it too extreme, likely to affect your social life and random and bizarre grouping of banned food. (more on that later, fact-checked here). 

My friends who did this earlier swore that it has helped them re-define their food relationship, tame the sugar demon, manage stress and generally be happier. So, I weighed the pros and cons and as it is only for 30 days, I decided to give it a go. 

One key criterion to do this program is you have to commit for the entire 30 days, so if have a little slip or cheat day, you need to start from square one. So yes, there is no half-ass(ing) this one. There is a line of tough love in the book, “Quitting heroin is hard, battling cancer is hard. Drinking your coffee, black, is.not.hard”. Making this line my mantra, I powered through. 

What’s allowed and what’s not allowed in Whole 30?

The rule is to eat the above- mentioned items and food that are natural and unprocessed.

You can eat vegetables (even potatoes), meat, eggs, seafood, fruits, plenty of good fats from fruits, oils like olive, coconut, or avocado, nuts and seeds. 

You can also eat ghee (clarified butter, as milk proteins, gets destroyed in the clarification process), coconut aminos, green beans, sugar snap peas, snow peas (as they are more of a pod than a bean), dates (exercise caution as they are high in calories) and vinegar.

You should completely avoid for 30 days the following things: 

  1. Sugar and sweeteners. Including the “healthy” options like honey, coconut sugar, agave and jaggery. 
  2. Alcohol (even for cooking) and tobacco. 
  3. Grains and pseudo-grains like rice, wheat, oats, quinoa, corn, buckwheat etc. 
  4. Legumes like kidney beans, lentils, peanuts (including peanut butter), chickpeas etc. 
  5. Soya or soy forms like soy sauce, miso, tofu, tempeh, edamame and soy lecithin. 
  6. Dairy including cheeses, yoghurt, creams etc. 
  7. Carrageenan, MSG and Sulphites. 
  8. Paleo treats even if the ingredients are Whole 30 complaint. 

It is also advisable to not snack between meals if after a meal you feel like eating a sweet, ask yourself, should I rather eat another round of the meal? If the answer is yes, then eat another portion of the meal. If it no, then it is just a craving. Most cravings would pass within 3 minutes (this, in fact, is true, as I learnt). 

My breakfast was mostly eggs, nuts, a teaspoon or two of nut butter with fruit. Dinner and lunch was mainly chicken or fish with plenty of vegetables. For snacks, if I had it was a fruit or a date. I took my coffee with almond milk or black. 

That’s a hell-lot of Do’s and Don’ts is this even worth it?

How Whole 30 helped me to overcome emotional eating. Standing on a brown floor wearing purple leggings and blue workout vest.

ABSOLUTELY! I followed it to the T and I am so glad I did! In the Whole 30 book, the duo mentions that what we eat creates hormonal reactions which usually causes most of the conditions we have. 

To reiterate, my goal was not just to lose weight, but deal with the larger issue of stress eating, mindless snack (especially on sugary stuff). I also wanted to deal with adult acne (I have been suffering from this for the last 2.5 years), PCOS, thyroid, dysmenorrhea. I suffer a bad case of period pain; often I have had to call work sick, not go to the gym and eat Ibuprofen 3 times a day. While regular exercise has helped, I still depend on painkillers. 

Within 2-3 days, my skin started clearing (although it was hubby who mentioned it, I took it with a pinch of salt! but he was right),  my periods went unnoticed, I felt energetic (for the most part), did not crave chocolates and did not use painkiller even for a day! 

My clothes started fitting better, I hit several Personal Bests at Crossfit and I did lose weight. Overall, I lost 3.5 kgs and a whopping 9.5 inches. The weight loss might not sound big but the needle had not moved for me for over a year. 

And what about my relationship with food and general happiness?

Once the first ten days were done, I felt better, happier and less anxious (the Tiger blood mentioned in the book is real). 

The book mentions that on the tenth day, one would experience extreme tiredness. This was because the body experiences the worst of sugar withdrawal and the best way to combat this was to rest and sleep more. 

I have certainly become a more mindful eater. I read labels carefully and “listen” to my hunger signals.  If I am truly hungry I eat “whole food” instead of junk including the healthier ones like protein bars.  I do not know if I have really defeated the sugar demon but at least I can manage it better. 

My biggest win from this is my healthier relationship with food and not taking comfort in junk food/sweets, during stressful moments.  

Resources:

  1. Whole 30 website
  2. Whole 30 book
  3. Official Instagram
  4. Whole 30 recipes Instagram
  5. https://lifehealthhq.com/

Thank you for reading. Hope you liked the post. Don’t forget to follow me. You can also follow me on Instagram and Twitter.

Your feminist premise should be: I matter. I matter equally.

If there’s any writer who can write hard-hitting essays as persuasively and compellingly as novels and short stories and make them utterly readable it is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. To say, I have read all her work would be an understatement. I have devoured each one of her work and cannot quite point which one I like the best; hence it was natural that I added Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions to my Chimamanda collection.

This book is a quick read with 15 actionable steps to raise a strong and empowered daughter. It shines with Chimamanda’s characteristic warmth and forthrightness but is deeply personal. According to Chimamanda, her friend Ijeawele wrote to ask how she should bring her baby daughter up a feminist, and in response, after the right hesitations – “it felt like too huge a task”– Adichie made this list of 15 suggestions.

I would say that this book should be an essential read to women (and men) everywhere and not just mums with girls—because it would help us to develop more empathy and fine tune our mind on how patriarchy catches up—often unaware. And yes it would help us to raise stronger girls and wiser boys.

For eons, women (and men) have been taught how we need to behave. Girls should be softer and men should be more aggressive. And no matter what women have been taught to be more likable (or risk being tagged Nasty woman, cue Hillary V/S Trump). But this book helps us to identify these unconscious biases and give it a massive f*** you. It also tells us how to defy the societal norms and standards to become your own person.

I wrote about the infamous Nasty Woman episode, a few lines ago. Why? One of the advice in the book is to reject likeability. Easier said than done, I painfully learn even now. I have never been the cool, popular kid, never been the one to succumb to peer pressure and in the face have rejected likeability but even today in moments of honest introspection—I often wonder if I am liked enough by my set of girlfriends, my colleagues, even my family for that matter. See, how unconsciously these societal standards affect us?

Human beings are cultural beings, consistently shaped by ideas and values around us. Throughout history and even in art and culture, we see likeability a major factor (especially for women). Women are unconsciously raised to become people-pleaser. And we need to stop doing this to ourselves and our future generation because as another wise woman said, “Well-behaved women, rarely made history”. 

The other suggestions in the book– about marriage, motherhood, and reading  as well as the often told ‘because you are a girl’, is never a reason for anything” also make equal sense and they all come with personal anecdotes.

I repeat this book is an essential and urgent read. Why? Because to raise feminist daughters (or sons), mothers must take pleasure and pride in their own achievements, follow both the challenges and delights of life and give themselves room to fail. Because ultimately, as Adichie writes, children must be raised to be full people. 

“Come forth into the light of things, let nature be your teacher”.  William Wordsworth

The trickling sound of waterfalls welcomes you as soon as you enter this woodland. I am engulfed by nature sounds all around me and I keep walking to spot the source of waterfall sound. Cut from the cacophony of city life and the constant buzz of phone calls, email notifications and whatnots, I feel strangely at peace. I am lost in my own bubble and I feel at home. Nature truly is therapeutic because it makes you forget your own problems.

Lake District Attractions

Welcome to Lake District, a place of outstanding beauty. I have heard so much about this place that I feared that the reality would be an anti-climax. But thank God, I was wrong. Lake District lives up to the hype and the picturesque scenery will impress even the fussiest traveller.

Lake District attractions

As the name suggests, Lake District is full of tranquil lakes flowing between the mighty hills. Between the lakes, you will see lush greenery teasing your senses while sheep graze lazily on the greens. If the land is not enticing enough then up in the sky you will see sun and mist playing hide and seek with the hills.

Aira Force Lake District

The Lake District has a romantic past. William Wordsworth and the Lake Poets drew attention to this special area in the northwest corner of England during the 19th century. It has since become a destination for nature lovers and hikers everywhere.

We stayed at Ullswater, situated in the Northern area of the English Lake District. Ullswater is the second largest lake in the Lake District at a length of 8 miles. The lake is surrounded by some of the most beautiful scenery in the area and is a very popular place for hiking, chugging on a steamboat or simply be.

 

Ullswater has many attractions but as our main aim was to connect with nature. We stuck to hiking. Our first hike/walk was at Aira Force, stunning waterfalls amidst nature trails. Our second hike was at Hallin Fell, Grassy Lakeland fell reaching 1,273 feet edged by Lake Ullswater & topped by a column of rocks.

 

 

Lake District attractions

Each day, we would set off in the morning, without any agenda—except to explore, wander and get awed by nature. And did we succeed? Somewhere on top of Arthur’s Pike, with light drizzle trickling down, literally lost in the middle of nowhere, I felt I found myself again.

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Dear A,

Despite my best attempts, I cannot keep time still. There is nothing more I want than asking time to slow down a little so you and I can enjoy your childhood a little more. You, darling child, have started asking some mind-boggling questions: Like why are there no girls in your football class? what happens to people when they leave this world? Why your best friend (who is a boy) not interested in ballet? I love these questions and these are just somethings I want you to learn, in no particular order.

  1. You can like dolls. You can like spiderman. And both are fine.
  2. There is nothing like a boy colour and girl colour. Colours are fun, enjoy them.
  3. People will eventually forget who you are but never how you made them feel. Make their memories unforgettable (in a nice way).
  4. Kick ass and don’t be a kiss ass.
  5. Rebel (but try not to do it against me) ;).
  6. Laugh, breathe and let go.
  7. Learn to deal with failures.
  8. Failures don’t make you but neither does success.
  9. Comparisons will steal your joy.
  10. Some girls will have sugar daddies. Don’t be that girl. Work hard and carve your own path.
  11. Despite what they say, feminism is not a bad word.
  12. Do silly things.
  13. Travel.
  14. Run, dance, lift weights. Move your body,  Love your body. It is the only vessel you have. Valentines Day unique ideas
  15. Love food. Don’t make it your enemy.
  16. Have friends from all walks of life.
  17. Speaking of friends; always remember quality over quantity.
  18. Sunscreen and some kohl. And of course red lipstick.
  19. Looks do fade. Character doesn’t.
  20. Love unconditionally. Love deeply. And Love yourself.
  21. Be strong, be gentle and be brave.
  22. Be your own cheerleader.
  23. Don’t dumb yourself down for anyone.
  24. Be Kind. Always.
  25. Be proud but not arrogant.
  26. Use your voice.
  27. You matter.
  28. If someone tells you that you can’t do something because you’re a girl, do it anyway, and do it better.

  29. Learn to say no.
  30. Love does conquer all.

With love, always

Your mum.

As a busy, working and blogging mum, relaxing and doing nothing is something I rarely do. But once in a while, even I think I need to slow down, put my feet up, relax and smell the proverbial coffee. If you have been following me on Instagram, you would know that I love dressing up. But dressing down is also something I take it seriously because let’s face it no one can be 24/7 dressed up with perfect nails, hair, makeup and shoes, not even Beyonce (Well, maybe she can!). For rest of us mortal beings, comfortable and stylish loungewear is a blessing in disguise. So, in this post, I bring to you the loungewear edit featuring pretty pink pyjamas.

To be honest with you all, there are days when I just want to mop around in my PJs especially if those days become snowy days with the beast from the east hitting us like crazy. For those days, all you need is a comfy pair of PJs in a happy colour like pink, a nice book, hot chocolate and plenty of laughter with your family.

Staying in, snuggling and doing nothing has its own set of health benefits and if you do it in a pair of stylish and comfy PJs there is nothing like it. Personally, I am constantly in search of warm, comfy and durable loungewear and online I found Simply Be to have quite an amazing selection in both straight and plus sizes.

Loungewear by Simply Be

Loungewear by Simply Be

This pink beauty in soft velvet with a touch of satin strikes the perfect balance between comfort and luxury, just the two things you need for especially cold, wintry and snowy days. For strutting around the home, like a Queen that I am, I have simply paired it with leopard print furry slippers.

Loungewear by Simply Be

Pyjamas: Simply Be, Slippers: Gifted

I love it when comfy PJs serves all the other purposes– keeps me warm, chic and confident. What’s more, if you can pair the top and the bottom with different items in your wardrobe you have got yourself a true winner.

Thank you Simply Be For Sponsoring this Post. 

This is a sponsored post but opinions are mine.