January 21, 2018
I'm not a food blogger, and I don't intend to ever be one; however, I'm pretty fascinated by how certain foods can affect our bodies - not just weight-wise, but internally as well. I come from a long line of digestive issues and have had an ongoing battle with weight for much of my life. I began recognizing that it would be best for me to get in control of food sooner rather than later or I would be headed down a pretty unhealthy road with the potential of a lot of hazards.
For me - eating habits and spending habits were very closely linked (and I think this may be true for many others.) Before budgeting and Whole30 (more on this in a sec), when I was stressed I would either overspend, overeat, or often both. I used money and food as coping mechanisms for sadness or frustration or anger, never feeling completely in control of my actions.
In my late 20s I started researching and loosely practicing a Paleo lifestyle which helped me begin to learn the basics of cooking and eating healthier foods, but it wasn't until I embarked on my first Whole30 (I wrote about it here) when I turned 30 that food changed my life. (Physical Exhibit A below: October 2016 | March 2017)
I began to see the affect food had on not only my body, but also my mind. I felt better physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Whole30 helped guide me on my journey to food freedom (making wiser choices regarding food, not beating myself up for eating a cupcake, learning how to say no and not impulse eat - still very much figuring out this journey FYI), and Dave Ramsey my journey to financial freedom (still figuring this one out, too!). Both freedoms are equally important I believe. (I plan to marry these two loves and do a post on doing Whole30 on a budget in the near future, don't you worry.)
I've essentially lived much of my life in a bloated and gassy state (I know...by far the cutest thing you've ever learned about me) and full of confusing digestive concerns. Growing up, I honestly just assumed that this was how my life would be and I'd learn to deal. However, when I discovered how powerful food can be, I found some hope that things could change. And while I thought I had figured out what foods I was sensitive to via Whole30, I still had some uncertainties.
At the end of 2017 year, I had some health reimbursement account money left that I was going to lose if I did not use and a friend of mind suggested I do a food sensitivity test. Through a local nutritionist and dietician here, Chews Food Wisely, I completed a LEAP150 test (super simple...just had to get some blood work done) to discover that I have sensitivities to 29 different food items and chemicals (food sensitivities means these foods cause inflammation - inflammation manifests differently for everyone but can include, headaches, breakouts, bloated, etc.) Many of which I had been consuming on a regular basis. I was more than a little surprised:
Sodium Metabisulfite (found in wine...sad)
Grapes (also found in wine...double sad)
Cocoa (like crying on the floor in fetal position sad)
MSG (me and every other human)
Food Dye and Color Blue #1
Food Dye and Color Yellow #5
What!? I definitely had cashews, grapes, and spinach all up in my fridge and cabinets, and I'd been consuming tomatoes and bell peppers on the reg. These results were so surprising to me, but the more I started thinking about it, the more things started to add up. (Long story short - sensitivity to tomatoes, eggplant, bell peppers ((these are called nightshades)) can cause the same kind of inflammation issues ((i.e. for me - bloated/gassy)) as for someone that may have a gluten allergy. I wasn't feeling bad from the pizza I would eat because of the gluten in the crust, but because of the tomato in the sauce. I wasn't feeling terrible from the burger I ate because of the gluten in the bun, but because of the sesame on top of it.
Anywho - maybe all of this is not as exciting for you as it was for me, but I am grateful to have this knowledge so I can start focusing on the foods that will treat my body the kindest, and stop wasting money on foods that do not work for me. And of course, just as with our budgeting, this is all about balance. Will I still sneak some chocolate here and there - you betcha. Will I try to avoid it most of the time - yea I think so.
I just gained a lot more room in my grocery budget.
Some numbers talk:
It was a total of $400 for me to complete the LEAP150 test. $375 for the test itself and $25 for the blood work. You can probably find the test for cheaper in your area, just do a little googling. If I had not had my health reimbursement money left over, this is something I would eventually have saved up my money for.
A lot of people think eating Whole30 has to be really expensive. Nah, y'all! First of all - Whole30 is actually pretty commercialized now which is a GOOD thing. It is so much easier to meal plan and prep than it used to be because of this. You are eating all whole foods so that means fruits and veggies galore, and produce is some of the most inexpensive food you can get.