Day Five of our Whole30 program on the road, and things are going really well – so far, not a single “Paleo-but-still-basically-candy” Larabar in the mix. We’ve driven through the Keys, up through Florida to the panhandle (where we had an awesome workshop co-hosted by Lightning CrossFit and CrossFit Fort Walton Beach), and then on through Alabama, Mississippi and now, Louisiana. (We’re currently hanging in the hotel post-workout, gnawing on our PWO meal from the Baton Rouge Whole Foods. There are no forks in sight.) Eating most of your meals out of a cooler is challenging, and we’ve had to get creative to keep from getting bored. We’ll be doing up a “Whole30 while traveling” post soon, to give you more ideas on what to eat while you’re on the road. (Thanks to MGood66 for the suggestion!)
Because this isn’t our first rodeo, we’re not experiencing most of the typical Whole30 effects that come within the first week – the headaches, lethargy, GI distress, sleep troubles or performance dips. These are all TOTALLY common, and can last anywhere from a few days to the first two weeks. (Did you really think you could make up for 20 years of less-than-stellar eating habits in just a few days? It takes your body a while to adapt to eating like this, so be patient with yourselves.) However, there is one “side effect” which we are currently experiencing in full effect.
We. Are. Cranky.
Not because we’re missing some of our fun foods, like heavy cream in our coffee or the occasional glass of wine with dinner. Those have been easier to set aside than even we anticipated. And not because eating well on the road is hard – we knew it would be, and we’re having fun with the challenge. No, we’re cranky because we have recently re-discovered that there is hidden sugar in EVERYTHING.
Now, we’d consider ourselves to be pretty darn savvy consumers. We read the fine print and study ingredients, and we know just because something says it’s “Paleo” (or “Organic” or “Smart Choice“) doesn’t mean it’s even in the neighborhood of healthy. But this Whole30 has made us realize how truly difficult it is to avoid all “added sugars”, and leaves us surprised and dismayed every time we set out to fill our carts at the grocery or health food store. (Ironic, as this is our own darn program.)
Our favorite Madras Curry sauce? Cane sugar. Whole Foods roasted beets? Added sugar and honey. (Do beets really need more sugar?) All the almond milk varieties we’ve ever come across? Cane sugar. (And the “unsweetened” stuff still has soy.) Our go-to sweet treat Sahale snacks? Cane sugar – as though the dried fruit included isn’t enough sweetness.
We’re grateful for this reminder, though, because if we’ve been letting these “extra” sugars and additives slip into our normal daily diet, we can only imagine how much harder it is for those of you on the Whole30 for the first time. So here’s a caution – read your labels. Doesn’t matter if it’s the first ingredient or the last, or if the sugar is in the form of cane or agave or syrup or honey. If it’s got sugar, or soy, or corn, or ingredients you can’t identify or pronounce – it’s OUT. But don’t just label-read and toss foods aside – learn from this experience. Take a moment to be outraged at how food manufacturers and advertisers trick consumers into a false state of health by using buzzwords on labels. Learn to translate complicated ingredients (xylitol and sorbitol = sugar). And weed out those foods that don’t fit into your new way of eating and find healthier alternatives in your local markets.
We couldn’t do deli turkey and beets at the Whole Foods, but we found all natural pre-cooked chicken breast (chicken, sea salt and pepper), a cold asparagus salad (asparagus, red and yellow peppers, sweet onions, cilantro, basil, sea salt, pepper and vinegar) and followed that up with some fresh roasted pecans we bought on the side of the road in Alabama (pecans and sea salt, hand-labeled and packaged in a Ziploc bag).
Have you recently discovered a food you thought was “approved” is, in fact, OUT due to hidden ingredients? Share your frustrations here (and warn your fellow Whole30 friends to steer clear)… AND suggest a healthier alternative! Keep posting, and keep up the strong work, everyone.