As partners, companions, and Pack Masters of the ever-growing EPIC Wolfpack, Taylor and I have taken on a myriad of roles, sometimes in unison, sometimes based on where our passions lie, and sometimes where our strengths are deemed most valuable. We've steered our pack in synchrony through an exciting three-year sprint that seems to get faster by the day. While Taylor has typically maintained ownership of The EPIC Blog, I couldn't help but take the reigns on this one to share a recent narrative that reflects an integral part of my being, life-changing in every aspect.
At EPIC, we talk every day about food as a product of a larger ecosystem. An ecosystem that, when properly managed, allows land to regenerate, animals to live the way they were meant to, and humans to consume nutrient-rich, healthy food as a result. This philosophy goes into each and every product we release into the universe and its importance could not be overstated.
However, it's easy to forget sometimes the true value of food as an end product of the ecosystem. We often think of food as a driver to merely stay alive, when in reality it is the key to living a healthy lifestyle that not only promotes longevity, but happiness and appreciation for ourselves. This mindset is where I began my journey of focusing on the holistic value that food brings to my life.
I have always had a strong aversion toward any type of "diet." A "diet" screams temporary, imbalance, fluctuation, and impossibility. A diet requires you to constantly think about tracking your food choices, valuing superficial body parts over internal body healing, and inevitable social isolation and stigma. Instead, I found a program that focuses on benefiting my life on a holistic level, while still meeting the important personal criteria of consuming food that nurtures anti-inflammation, hormonal balance, and quick athletic recovery.
Not two months ago, I started The Whole30, a program that I've found to be the best lifestyle choice I have ever made. The Whole30 is an original nutritional program designed to change the way you think about food, your tastes, your habits, and the emotional relationship you have with food, and with your body. It adds in nutrient rich, whole foods while removing foods that have a proven negative impact on your health without you even realizing it. The program essentially hits the "reset" button by cutting out all psychologically unhealthy, hormone-unbalancing, gut-disrupting, inflammatory food groups for a full 30 days.
To get the gist of the program, here are a few rules along with my love/hate relationship with them
- No Added Sugar - Natural or Artificial. I really struggled with this one for a while, there was no way I was going to be able to drink coffee or tea without added stevia (yes, it is real & herbal!) - two of my favorite things in life. After reading this excerpt from The Paleo Mom, I was determined to cut stevia out of my life for good. If one of my goals was hormonal balance, why mess around with an herb that has been used as a contraceptive device by other cultures?
- No Treats. Paleo cookies or paleo pies? Nope, not even if there is no added sugar or sweetener. I resented this one for a while. I love treats, and considering Taylor eats treats every night of his life, it proved to be a challenge. To overcome this one, I renamed my foods and deconstructed them into mere pieces of the whole: almond flour, egg, coconut flour, vanilla extract = all paleo. But combined, it's a cookie, so...no, not Whole30.
- No Scale. Free yourself! Be happy with your body regardless of the scale. Be happy with the food choices you make and you will not feel the urge to go weigh yourself because you feel good!
I'm not going to sugar-coat it. The Whole30 is not an easy feat. But with preparation, support, and dedication, it's entirely possible..and worth it. That's why EPIC is thrilled to be the Official Sponsor of the January Whole30 to help YOU along your journey to seek a better lifestyle. Whole30 has not only changed my life, but the lives of multiple employees at EPIC HQ. We are honored to support our partners at Whole30, a fabulous program that will truly change your life.